where even I draw the line

As you guys know I try to be as liberal, open minded and as tolerant as I can be. I generally feel that people should be free to do as they whish, provided that it does not hurt anyone else. But this morning I came across a group of people which I’m having problems getting my head around: people who actually seek to cut off their own limbs. Watch this.

My first reaction is to ask why? Why would anyone seek to impair themselves? I know first hand what a bugger having to use a wheelchair can often be. I have known people without the use of their legs. So my first reaction is that they should be prevented from doing this.

If you start to think about it, it gets more interesting though. Why shouldn’t some people actively seek to join the disability community? What is the difference between this and a man going through surgery to become a woman? The people seem to desire it as much as a transgendered person desires to transition. If we crips are truly equal to everyone else, why shouldn’t some people join our ranks as a lifestyle choice?

The answer is as obvious as it is problematic. Disabled people face serious disadvantages, so much so that you question the sanity off anyone who wants to chop off their legs. Yet to admit this means admitting that being disabled is somehow inferior to being able-bodied. Mind you, one could argue that, due to sexism, a man would have to be nuts to seek to become a woman; but the counterargument would be that A) sexism is not innate but a social construct, and is diminishing, and B) all you’re doing is swapping one social and sexual role for another, with no innate loss of status or ability. In other words, unlike sexism, there is a physical dimension to prejudice against disabled people – it places you at a physical disadvantage. A disadvantage so big that I do not think that this phenomenon can be seen in the same light as any other ‘lifestyle choice’. Thus, this is where even I might have to draw the line. The problem is, this forces one into saying that having a disability is iinferior to not having one, which I cannot do.

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