People Are Turning Disabled by Their Own Choice and Calling Themselves ‘Transabled’

“Trans-ability” is a new term that has occurred in the last decade resulting from people’s wish to transform their body in order to obtain a physical impairment.

Alexandre Baril, a professor of feminist, gender, and sexuality studies defines the transability: “the desire or the need for a person identified as able-bodied by other people to transform his or her body to obtain a physical impairment”.

In the past few years people have started to identify as “trans-abled” and relate their identity to that of transgender people believing that one or more limbs or functions of their body do not belong to them. They even go to the extreme and perform illegal surgeries and medical procedures in order to become disabled and thus find happiness.

The trans-abled people literary harm themselves so that they have certain disability. Jewel Shuping is one of them, a resident of North Carolina, who poured drain cleaner into her eyes so that she could live as a blind person. Here it is what she reported to The Daily Mail about her fascination with blindness: “My mother would find me walking in the halls at night, when I was three or four years old. By the time I was six I remember that thinking about being blind made me feel comfortable.”

This lady made herself blind and in the beginning of this process she wore thick black sunglasses, and then used her first cane at the age of 18, and at 20, she became fully fluent in Braille. 

Jewel Shuping had even a help form a psychologist who agreed to help her with the process of becoming blind. In 2006 they have started the process which we may say is very painful, but Jewel was willing to go through and thus fulfill her wish. However, in order to lessen this painful process, Jewel received numbing eye drops, and then a couple of drops of drain cleaner were administrated in each eye. She said the following regarding her choice:

“I really feel this is the way I was supposed to be born, that I should have been blind from birth. When there’s nobody around you who feels the same way, you start to think that you’re crazy. But I don’t think I’m crazy, I just have a disorder.”

Jewel lives with the people who also have BIID -Body Integrity Identity Disorder. This condition is referred to people who are born without any disability, but on purpose are making themselves disabled. 

Scientists are not united in the occurrence of this issue, some believe that it results due to the existence of neurological issue, and others identify it as more of a mental disorder. Professor Clive Baldwin interviewed 37 trans-abled people as a part of a study at St. Thomas University in Fredericton. The professor said that the interviewed subjects showed an immense desire for a disability that they were willing to create accidents on purpose in order to get the wanted disability. 

Chloe Jennings-White is a research scientist who also has a great wish to become disabled. If it was considered that people with certain mental issue would be prone to such desires in this case a Cambridge graduate wants to become a BIID person. In her case she wants to have a permanent paralysis which she tried to achieve even at an early age, when 9 years old, riding her bike off a stage. But, she only got scrapes and bruises.

Here it is what she stated at the HuffPost UK: “Doing any activity that brings a chance of me becoming paraplegic gives me a sense of relief from the anxiety caused by the BIID.” 

She reported the following to the Daily Mail: “Something in my brain tells me my legs are not supposed to work. Having any sensation in them just feels wrong.”

If it would have been possible, she would went to surgery and permanently lose her legs, and if it was allowed she is willing to pay $25,000 for the surgery. Chloe was a part of the BIID research study in 2008 conducted by the psychiatrist Michael First. Dr. First recommended her to use a wheelchair if she finds that helpful. Nowadays she spends most of her time in a wheelchair and she leaves it only when she needs to perform certain household tasks. Her greatest fantasy is to be a part of a devastating car crash where nobody gets harmed leaving her disabled with permanently damaged legs.

Jennings-White receives regular treatments of the psychiatrist Dr. Mark Malan who told The Daily Mail the following: “The question I often ask is it better to have somebody pretending to use a wheelchair, or to commit suicide?”

He believes that in the future that there will be solution for these people. One of the solutions would be the ability to experience their disability for a short period of time like using a nerve blocking agent. This will allow them to experience the feeling of being physically disabled, but always have the option to change their minds.

Jewel Shuping does not recommend to people to go blind the way she did. She acknowledges that she is a BIID person and is well aware that this is a disorder. Hence she states the following: “I know there is a need but perhaps someday there will be treatment for it. People with BIID get trains to run over their legs, freeze dry their legs, or fall off cliffs to try to paralyze themselves. It’s very very dangerous. And they need professional help.”

However, many people cannot accept this new concept of transableism, and for the right purpose, they believe that this is only a way to divert the attention from people who are really disabled.