Daniel Foster, writing in the Happy Warrior column in the 6/22/15 issue of National Review, decribes “This dialectical two-step, from medicalization as legitimization to de-medicalization as redemption.” From “The Sex-and-Gender Interregnum”
If you were into such morbid thoughts, you might reflect on the possibility that “gender-identity disorder,” as the psychiatric community calls it, is really a special case of a broader dysmorphia called “body-integrity-identity disorder.” What’s BIID, you ask?
“We define [BIID] 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,” said Alexandre Baril, a researcher in “critical disability studies” at Wesleyan University. The ranks of the so-called trans-able, described in a recent National Post article for which Baril provided his comments, include individuals who have voluntarily amputated their hands, crushed their legs with large stones, or sought out operations to blind them, deafen them, and, yes, destroy their genitals.
As human beings and sinners, we are by nature in the business of self-destruction. But if you ever wanted a litmus test of whether you’re more of a conserva- than a -tarian, in Charlie Cooke’s formulation, ask yourself whether surgically induced paraplegia falls under the aegis of “Live and let live.”
It’s interesting to note that even as the trans-able are petitioning to have BIID moved from an appendix into the main body of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, many in the transgendered community are petitioning to remove gender-identity disorder from the DSM altogether. Perhaps this is to be expected, given that the former community views the lopping off of a penis as obtaining a physical impairment and the latter as realizing an identity.
I — we all, no doubt — have had more occasion to think about this front in the culture war of late. That’s because, I’m convinced, we’re living in an interregnum between master cultural narratives, the punctuation of a punctuated equilibrium, and I don’t think any of us really has any idea what the next epoch will look like. Some slopes are slippery and others are not, which is why they named a logical fallacy after them.
Look, I have no interest in what anyone does in the boudoir, and I will call Caitlyn Jenner by whatever noun, pro- or proper, she likes. But what I do know is this: Like all evolutionary processes, this interregnum is producing grotesqueries, neither fish nor fowl, that cannot coherently endure — from the schizophrenia, if you’ll forgive the term, over the medicalization of identity, to a sexual culture whiplashing from the libertinism of “free love” to the new Victorianism of “affirmative consent.”
Functional liberal societies can tolerate just about anything. But they can’t tolerate absurdities — not forever, and maybe not for long. I don’t know what the new regime will look like. But the revolution keeps getting weirder.