Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Self-Mutilating Pathology

"My goal was to get the job done with no hope of reconstruction or re-attachment, and I wanted some method that I could actually bring myself to do."
One Hand Jason

"We define transability as 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."
"The person could want to become deaf, blind, amputee, paraplegic. It's a really, really strong desire."
Alexandre Baril, academic, researcher
MELANIE PROVENCHER   Alexandre Baril, a Quebec born academic who will present on "transability" at this week's Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Ottawa. Baril himself is not transabled.

At this week's Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities taking place at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Baril is prepared to deliver a lecture on the most unimaginably bizarre symbols of human nature in all its eccentric diversity. He will introduce conference attendees to the reality for some people of suspecting that something about their body isn't quite right, isn't meant to be where it is, and they would feel much more comfortable within themselves if it were to be removed.

And that is just what one man did for himself. He now calls himself One Hand Jason. This is a man who tried various means of disabling and ridding himself of his right arm. He meticulously trained himself, becoming familiar with first aid procedures to ensure he wouldn't bleed to death. But he ended up severing his right arm totally, with the aid of a "very sharp power tool", satisfying this morbidly dire need he experienced.

Canadian researchers are attempting to reach an understanding about how 'transabled' people are motivated, and why. A Canada Research Chair in Narrative Studies who teachers social work at St.Thomas University in Fredericton, has himself interviewed 37 people globally who identify themselves as transabled. Most of those he reached were men. Half the number live in Germany and Switzerland.

Most of these inordinately peculiar people have a deep craving for an amputation or paralysis. One of those he interviewed aspired to blindness. These are people who carefully plan "accidents" in hopes of successfully achieving their goal. One man dropped a concrete block on his legs hoping an amputation would result, but doctors disappointed him by saving the affected leg.

According to the researcher, Clive Baldwin, one 78-year-old transabled man had kept his secret from his wife for 60 years. "It's a problem [neurological] for individuals because it's distressing. But lots of things are." Dr. Baldwin points out the similarity between transabled people and transgendered people; just another type of body diversity.

Like the transgendered, transabled people are a minority within the population, and according to Dr.Baril, a visiting scholar of feminist, gender and sexuality studies at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticutt, the general population resists embracing the kind of social diversity that these people represent.

It is, after all, somewhat beyond bizarre to view as just another manifestation of human nature, the intense desire felt by a blessedly minuscule demographic, to deliberately maim themselves or to be viewed by others as disabled, to feel comfortable with their bodies.

Laurentiu Garofeanu/Barcroft Media /Landov ORG
Laurentiu Garofeanu/Barcroft Media /Landov ORG   Chloe Jennings-White adjusting her leg braces at her home on May 16, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Chloe-Jennings White wears leg braces and uses a wheelchair, even though her legs work fine, and she does not need them.

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