I recently learned of the mental condition Body Integrity Identity Disorder. People with BIID feel great discomfort with their bodies and believe they should have been born with one or more specific limbs missing.
BIID folk do not consider this desire for stumped limbs to be a preference, they believe they were born in the wrong body and make efforts to "correct" what they see as a mistake from Mother Nature by having healthy limbs amputated.
When I first heard about this mental illness I was blown away by its remarkable similarities to Gender Identity Disorder (Transgenderism); people who believe they were born with the wrong set of genitals.
My hypothesis is that Transgenderism is a mental disorder that should be treated with counseling, not plastic surgery.
The typical transgender story starts during childhood, when the subject says they first felt a desire to act like a member of the opposite sex. This includes (among biological males for this example) interests like wearing dresses or playing with dolls. The subject then tells of repressing these feelings for many years, usually keeping it a secret. Then, often during adulthood, the person decides "enough is enough" and takes steps to have their body cosmetically modified and hormonically doped until they have the outward physical appearances of a woman. After they are "transformed" they are happy in their new body and say their feelings have been confirmed.
The typical BIID story starts in childhood and the subject feels that they shouldn't have certain limbs. They may decide that "on the inside" they are really a double above-the-knee amputee or that their left arm should end in a stump 8 inches from the shoulder joint. All the ones I have read were that specific. They will keep this idea locked inside of them for many years, then at some point in their life decide "enough is enough" and do something about it. This could be simply asking a doctor (such as Dr. Robert Smith of Scotland who was doing elective amputations until he was told to stop by hospital administration), or harming themself in a manner that the limb needs to be amputated. After they are "transformed" they are happy in their new body and say their feelings have been confirmed.
I see this mental disorder as a Rosetta Stone that flawlessly showcases the lack of critical thinking surrounding Transgenderism. Both disorders are feverously defended by the afflicated, who believe they really were born with faulty bodies despite a lack of empirical evidence.
A is C,
A is like B,
therefor B is C.
There was a different thread on Transgenderism in December, which I feel would have been more successful with BIID as a starting point. Unlike that thread's author, I offer no apologies for calling into question a sexual minority lifestyle that has been targeted by bigots. Do aetheists spend their time worrying about being labeled as Godphobic? I do wish to distance myself from those who respond to the issue with blind, hateful knee-jerk reactions, but I do not wish to walk down that road beyond this paragraph.
Labels like "transphobic" distract from the real issue, which is the lack of empirical evidence.
The argument usally relies on appeals to emotions and taking the Transgendered individuals word for it.
I read Dr. Steven Novella's citation of a brain study that are percieved to support the "born in the wrong body" view, formerly known as "God put me in the wrong body." I hate to come off like a pseudoskeptic, but those tests only showed a correlation. Here's a quote:
"Whether these men were born with a small BSTc which caused them to become transsexuals, or whether these men became transsexuals which then caused them to have a small BSTc, the fact remains that their brains are physically different." -Marc Breedlove
If we do want to base everything on this study. then the first conclusion says that Transgendered people are fooled by their brain into thinking they are a member of the other gender. The second is that the Transgender mindset shrinks the BSTc area of the brain.
The study outright assumes the homosexual women and heterosexual women have the same BSTc because the researchers noted that gay and straight men have the same BSTc size. It states that the researchers very boldly believe other factors are not influential even with the small sample size. This is not a subject I am an expert on so I won't try to argue with them on that.
Another quote from Marc Breedlove reads:
"For most laymen the idea that experience can alter the structure of the brain may seem unlikely, but for over 30 years neuroscientists have provided demonstrations that this idea is quite correct."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't that suggest that counseling and therapy could potentially "fix" the BSTc size?
A leap of faith is required to go from having someone believe they were born in the wrong body to saying they ACTUALLY WERE born in the wrong body.
I think it's irrensponcible for a Doctor to be in league with a mental disorder. If someone with a severe hallucinations say they always see the walls of their rooms as drenched in blood, does the hospital dispatch a crew with a bucket of blood and a spray gun?
If we can accept that the mentally ill believe they are historic figures, or mythical creatures, why do we nod our heads when they say they are a member of the opposite sex? The non-mental disorder theory of Transgenderism requires a lot of assumptions about the body and gender.
And extraordinary claims require extrodinary evidence.