Desiring disability: What does it mean to be transabled?

Imagine longing to live in a different body ... a body less whole. It's a complicated and stigmatized disorder, one that researchers are working to understand.
Body Integrity Identification Disorder, or BIID for short, is one of the most secretive emerging areas in research psychiatry today. (Ben Shannon/CBC)

Imagine longing to live in a different body ... a body less whole. It's a complicated and stigmatized disorder; one that researchers are working to understand. 

People who become fixated on these feelings, often from a young age, are called transabled. Some of them want amputations, others want to be paralyzed or lose their sense of sight or hearing. 

For insight on the rare condition, known as Body Integrity Identity Disorder, Shad speaks with two guests: 

  • Mark Comer, a man who has lived with BIID since childhood and now uses a wheelchair. 
  • Dr. Michael First, a researcher who explores the psychology and social stigma of choosing disability 

Please note: this segment contains graphic details. 

q: Should BIID sufferers have the right to choose disability? Does the medical profession have the responsibility to give them the choice? 

Producer's Note: We would like to thank Clive Baldwin, Canada Research Chair in Narrative Studies at St. Thomas University for his invaluable input to get this segment to air.


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