General Question

SuperMouse's avatar

Is Body Integrity Identity Disorder as genuine in your mind Gender Identity Disorder?

Asked by SuperMouse (30723 points ) December 12th, 2012

Without a second thought I always find myself being very sympathetic to those dealing with Gender Identity Disorder. My reaction is automically understanding and supportive of the choices a person might have to make in order to feel comfortable in their own skin.

Another board I frequent sometimes attracts people living with Body Integrity Identity Disorder and want to have a limb amputated or their spinal cord severed in order to feel “whole”. I must admit that I have very little patience for those with BIID.

Do you see the two as largely the same? Do you have the same amount of sympathy/understanding for those living with either? In your mind is one more valid or genuine than the other?

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23 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

I’m the same as you though I’m not really sure why. I’m quick with sympathizing for people with GID but for some reason I just can’t wrap my mind around BIID. I just watched a movie that dealt with this a couple days ago on netflix, it was called Armless. As the title implies he wanted both his arms amputated in order to feel whole….weird movie….

DigitalBlue's avatar

I’m sure part of it is that we have very little exposure to BIID, it takes people/society a while to accept things that we don’t understand. I think that we need to have time for an unusual concept to really sink in before we can feel like it is “valid.”

bookish1's avatar

Really? You’re going to ask this under General? Which condition is easier to accept for those who don’t have it, with the inherent implication of “which condition is freakier”?

I don’t have no disorder. Don’t pity us like it’s some disease and we would be “normal just like you” without it. Only if you think that gender and anatomical sex are always only ever automatically the same thing do I have a disordered “gender identity.” People who know themselves better than the doctor who peered at their tiny infant genitals and decided what they should be for the rest of their lives, deserve acceptance whether or not there is a fucking diagnosis in the DSM.

As for people with BIID, I don’t have it and it’s not for me to say if it’s REAL or not. Cause, ya know, being trans makes me rather sympathetic for other people whose experiences are not accepted as REAL.

SuperMouse's avatar

@bookish1 I asked this in General in hopes of avoiding the flaming and joking it might provoke and that would be allowed in Social. Any “inherent implication” of freakishness is in your perception, not in my question. I asked this question to hear others’ perceptions of these issues, not to ask whether, ya know, the issues are real or not. Whether or not these things are REAL is not what this question is about.

FYI, “I don’t have no disorder” is a double negative.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I want my tax dollars and support to go to any treatment that will help someone become a contributing (taxpaying) member of society (CMOS).
If someone can prove how cutting off a perfectly working arm can do that, I will listen. Just don’t expect me to write check.

If someone with GID claims they cannot work and is on disability due to its effects, and treatment will make them whole so they can be a CMOS, I will gladly help fund it.

McCool's avatar

When you boil it down both conditions are about being comfortable with yourself, your image, or who you really feel you are on the inside. I’m sure individuals with either problem consider it very genuine. If someone is really considering methods to resolve either dilemna (and the methods are usually very extreme) then who am I to say its not a valid concern?

I do find it odd that someone wants to remove a working limb or cause paralysis, but that’s just me. I don’t live with that desire. They do. I’m sure for them it is very real.

zensky's avatar

This is a good Q @SuperMouse – I personally do not know anyone with either GID or BIID. I have “met” a couple of people here – but never in person.
I have read up on the first subject a bit, and seen a documentary or two to come to the conclusion that gender is a complicated thing – right from birth. I do not judge people with this crisis whatsoever – and feel a bit sorry for those struglling in the wrong body, so to speak.

As for the latter – my gut reaction is similar to what @LuckyGuy said – perhaps not as harshly. I have to learn about the subject more, however, it seems to be some kind of psychological disorder – along the lines of disfigurement and cutting and such.

I may be wrong – but I seriously think we should be thankful for what we have – starting with the four limbs. Not cut them off to feel whole ( a bit of an oxymoron) – but as I said – I have to learn about it more.

Shippy's avatar

I can understand in which context you asked. An experience of incongruity occur if the body was not in line with the mind?

I personally though have not seen them as similar. No more similar than for e.g Body Dismorphic Disorder. But the mind body and perception are part of each.

I do know that a person with BID not only wishes a limb gone for example, but also wants to enjoy the life syle associated with this. Meaning wheelchairs and other paraphenalia needed to get around.

DigitalBlue's avatar

Does amputation offer relief to people who suffer from BIID?

Plastic surgery is not considered to be a treatment for BDD, because altering the physical appearance does not offer relief to sufferers. There is evidence that suggests that we actually see ourselves differently, that our brains interpret the visual data differently from people with healthy self image. 98% of BDD sufferers who pursue plastic surgery or self mutilate in order to obtain relief continue to suffer, or simply start a new cycle of self-criticism.

In that sense, I can understand how someone with BIID might feel, in that I’m sure there are plenty of people who think/know that I am perfectly normal looking (or many would argue quite attractive) and roll their eyes or think that I exaggerate when they learn how I view myself. I don’t see what they see, in fact I’m pretty sure that I’m incapable of seeing what they see.
Perhaps in the same sense, people with BIID are incapable of accepting that limb as part of their body. I didn’t read the article, but going on what little I know about BIID, I’m pretty sure there is a known blip in the brain processes that leads to cognitive dissonance regarding the offending limb/limbs. But does removing the limb stop the suffering, or does it start a new cycle with a new limb? Does anyone know? I Googled, but didn’t find much.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t think it’s my place to tell anyone going through something difficult what is more genuine. Thinking of either of those journeys in terms of words like ‘genuine,’ ‘real,’ ‘authentic,’ is a trap, a bad one. Disorders, even calling them that, are historical and quite arbitrary. Like deviance, they’re whatever the dominant discourse in society (utilizing whatever fields we’ve given the tag of truth…these days it’s science or psych…both fields have terrible histories while presuming ‘objectivity’) says they are. It doesn’t help that once you name and proliferate a ‘disorder,’ it helps some people but destroys others and excludes even more. I do not believe gender identity disorder should be in the DSM (the new DSM-5 took it out after years of our activism and made it into ‘Gender Dysphoria’ and that’ll also have its own negative effects but that’s because we have a fucked up healthcare system and insurance codes are more important than people’s experiences) and I think it is society that’s so called disordered around gender and gender norms and all the policing we do around gender. Body integrity disorder is a also quite a complicated can of worms. You feel what you feel, given your context and how you were raised, and I will not have some psych person or scientist tell me what I’m supposed to think about people going through it. I will argue with people over calling transgender people ‘disordered’ but, in my personal life, I treat any discipline that does so with utter contempt.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Well, I believe that most, if not all, ailments (both mental and physical) are psychosomatic. Example; kids who are allergic to a certain food will break out in hives if they even think they ate it. This happens in the school where I work all the time. The reaction is the same, even though the kid didn’t really eat the thing in question.

Unbroken's avatar

Well I have never met of talked to anyone with BIID. And maybe they are sympathetic people that are generally reasonable about the rest of things.

I think I am ok with transgender people because they are just people who have what not and are perfectly capable of making decisions on their own and because they don’t need extra help after the fact.

On the other hand. There are genuine people who have amputations that struggle mentally and physically with this issue and need special care or equipment because of it.
Do these people do it get extra sympathy? They just feel better with it off? I mean I don’t know. It seems more unnatural. But would I treat them like a human certainly.

I might not like them at least at first because I understand what it is like to not have a choice when it comes to physical ailments. But if they didn’t come off as crazy or unreasonable and didn’t require me to assist them I might be fine with it.

bookish1's avatar

@SuperMouse: I am a native English speaker and an excellent one, and I am quite aware that “I don’t have no” is a double negative. I was angry. I really do not appreciate it when a vague and inaccurate understanding of trans people becomes a variable in someone’s thought experiment.

If you posed this question not in order to determine whether others believe these experiences are real, why did you use the word “genuine”?

SuperMouse's avatar

@bookish1 anger causes bad grammar? Huh, I never made the connection. Instead of copping an attitude why not use the opportunity to educate? You are in an excellent position to help correct some of the inaccuracies and increase my understanding of trans people. I posed the question in order to hear other’s perceptions of GID vs. BIID. My perception of something doesn’t make it any more or less real. Some may perceive my husband as faking a disability, that doesn’t make him any less quadriplegic. As you can tell by the responses, your rant did little to clear up anyone’s confusion.

bookish1's avatar

@SuperMouse: I was going to write “I don’t have no fucking disorder” but thought that that would be likely to elicit tone policing. Which, as it turns out, I received anyway.

It is not incumbent upon me to educate people. I do so willingly when people pose me questions in real life or on the internet. I have done so with several people on here, and I have to do it in real life all the time. However, if someone makes a statement that I see as fucked up, it is not my responsibility to remain calm and hold people’s hands and try to “educate” them.

If only those blacks would stop being so angry about racism, then white people could learn from them and stop being so confused… You just made this sort of argument.

My question remains: If your aim was to learn about people’s perceptions or understandings of BIID rather than to question its reality, why use the term “genuine,” and why was there a need to compare it to transgender experience at all?

SuperMouse's avatar

@bookish1 you are absolutely right, it is not your responsibility to educate people. However, if you decide not to do so, you are probably not entitled to bad mouth them for not being educated. I remain calm when dealing with uneducated people, I don’t see it as my responsibility, but I do see educating people as a way to help them learn and keep from alienating them. But hey, that’s your call.

My answer remains, I was asking about people’s perceptions of BIID vs. GID. I was wondering if people perceived GID as more real than BIID. This question was inspired by a thread on another board begun by someone pretending to be paraplegic and saying they don’t feel “whole” unless they are in a wheelchair. This is a board for people living with spinal cord injuries and their families and the person with BIID received so much hatred and vitriol that it stunned me. That got me thinking about GID as generally accepted as being genuine while wheelchair pretenders are derided as freaks wanting attention. I wondered if that was a pervasive view.

What is ironic about your response in this thread is that all of your nastiness and impatience is being directed at someone who firmly believes that GID is real.

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Patton's avatar

@SuperMouse But what @bookish1 is saying is that GID isn’t real, so you firmly believing it is real is part of the problem. GID is supposed to be a mental disorder. But @bookish1 doesn’t have a mental disorder, which is really pretty obvious once you consider that the solution is to change his body.

Now, if we called it gender dysphoria, that might be different. That term suggests that the only psychological problem is the feelings of depression and misplacement arising out of having the wrong body or being treated according to incorrect gender norms. That’s not the same as GID, though.

So if you really are sympathetic to transgendered people, you should reject the whole idea that there is such a thing as GID. Then you’d realize that comparing it to BIID makes no sense (and that maybe the idea of BIID itself makes no sense either). That would lead you to ask a very different question.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Patton wait a minute, if the obvious solution of changing one’s body keeps GID from being a mental disorder and makes it who @bookish1 is shouldn’t the same logic be applied to BIID? Why does the idea of wanting to change one’s gender lead to the conclusion that there is no mental disorder and wanting to sever one’s spinal cord or cut off a limb make no sense?

It sounds like you would be all good with my question and the responses if I had replaced the terms GID and BIID with gender dysphoria and dysphoria. Isn’t that just playing semantics? What would the “very different question” look like to you?

Patton's avatar

@SuperMouse It’s obvious you’re just being defensive now, since you are just looking for things to respond to instead of actually reading what I wrote. Every single sentence in your response relies on reversing the order of my words in order to make what you think passes for a point. So while you’re accusing me of playing semantics, you haven’t even managed to get the basic matter of syntax down.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Patton um, who is defensive here? Reread my response then maybe you can take a shot at answering my question rather than attacking it. Neither of your quips make any sense.

Patton's avatar

@SuperMouse Fine, let’s look at the major mistakes your response makes.

First, I didn’t say that “the obvious solution of changing one’s body keeps GID from being a mental disorder.” I said that once we accept that the proper response to transsexuality (which is not GID, remember that I agree with @bookish1 that GID isn’t real) is to change one’s body—and that’s what both transsexual people and the psychologists who write the DSM think, not that the latter are always the experts they think they are—then it should be obvious that transsexuality can’t be a mental disorder (and therefore that GID is a false diagnosis). It’s the same reason we don’t think a broken leg is a mental disorder. Yeah, it causes some mental trauma to have a broken leg, but the solution is to fix the leg. People with broken legs don’t need psychotherapy or psychiatry drugs to solve their problem, though they might need some of those things for related problems.

Second, I wouldn’t be “all good” with your question if you removed GID and BIID and just talked about dysphoria. It would be a start, but it would still assume that mental phenomena are ordinal. Mental disorders are legitimate or illegitimate. They aren’t more or less legitimate than one another. My point about gender dysphoria is just that it, unlike GID, is real. The same thing goes for bodily integrity dysphoria. It’s not just real, it’s unquestionably real. As long as we don’t think they are straight out lying to us, the fact that people profess to want limbs amputated or their spinal cord severed in order to feel whole is proof of the dysphoria no matter what you might think about the desire itself. But the question of the dysphoria’s legitimacy can’t be decided comparatively. Only if we decide that the bodily integrity dysphoria is somehow illegitimate can we then go on to say it is the result of a mental disorder (which we might call BIID).

So no, it’s not just playing with semantics. The difference between a dysphoria and a disorder is important. It determines the method of treatment (including whether that treatment should be surgical or psychological) and the social/legal status of the person affected. You wouldn’t give someone with lung cancer the same medical treatment as someone with pneumonia, or at least I hope you wouldn’t. For the same reasons, we need to distinguish between GID and gender dysphoria. They aren’t just different terms for the same thing, they are terms that define very different issues.

So what would the “very different question” look like if you had realized all this? For one, it would make no mention of the false diagnosis GID and wouldn’t treat GID as synonymous with gender dysphoria or transsexuality (which are not themselves the same thing). For another, it would not think there was any good reason for asking about BIID or bodily integrity dysphoria in relation to gender dysphoria or transsexuality. And finally, it would have decided in advance whether to ask about BIID and its legitimacy or to just focus on bodily integrity dysphoria.

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