So I saw this thing on National Geographic today... and I'm a little confused. Actually, I'm very confused. Then I found her blog, and now I'm filled with a million questions.
Apparently there is a quiet sub-culture called the 'transabled' - people who are not naturally amputees or paraplegics, but they wish to become so. Chloe is a woman who desires to become a paraplegic, and lives life in a wheelchair with leg braces- when she isn't out hiking or skiing. She is looking for a surgeon that will perform "ability reassignment surgery" on her, with the intention being to sever her spinal chord.
My initial thought was that this was wrong; why act out a charade of disability if you're not disabled? Why on Earth would you want to pay to have your healthy body damaged when so many people would give anything to be healthy? However, that argument rests on the assumption that it is 'better' not to be disabled, which, from the scattered and wide spectrum of opinions I've read, lies more in shades of grey than black and white.
Additionally, if she has a true psychiatric condition as she claims, called BIID, then perhaps that really is just as much of a disability as a physical one. After all, it is keeping her from using her body, despite that she physically could if she chose to. I have seen a lot of discussion among the blogs I follow about how disability can add quality to life in different shades, instead of the presumed automatic life of misery that some people seem to imagine. Maybe living life as a 'transabled' individual gives her life more meaning, but her farce seems like it may be a slap in the face to those with natural disabilities that were not elective. If she has BIID, is she pragmatically just as disabled as anyone with a physical difference? I wouldn't know, although I'd love to hear that side of the story.
I feel that there are a lot of arguments both for and against this, and that's why I'm writing about it. I myself have a lot of strong feelings in both directions about the issue, but not enough information to pin them to anything.. so I'm asking questions. I like getting outside of my comfort zone and wrapping my head around the completely unfamiliar - it's how we grow, and I think it's a healthy part of the learning process. And now, it's time for coffee.