Body Integrity Identity Disorder

Our discussion in class yesterday about transgenderism and gender identity disorder/ gender dysphoria reminded me of a disorder, Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID), that will be added to DSM V.  BIID is “when a person’s idea of how they should look does not match their actual physical form.”  This disorder sounds similar to how an individual with GID is supposed to feel.  With BIID, however, there is a desire to amputate a specific body part because the individual feels it should not be there.  The movie we watched discussed how transgender individuals must often “prove” to a doctor that their extreme distress with their bodies necessitates surgery.   Individuals with BIID have even more difficulty finding comfort with their bodies, as this disorder demands taking the drastic measure of amputation.  Finding a physician to remove a “healthy” part of a body would be challenging.  Due to societal constructions of how we believe bodies should appear, it is very difficult for both groups of people to change their bodies.  However, if individuals seek cosmetic surgeries that correspond with popular images of beauty, they need not demonstrate the existence of psychological issues. Breast augmentation for a woman is considered “normal,” but not for a man.  Wanting to remove an “extra” limb that an individual is born with is considered “normal,” but not a limb that is considered a natural part of the body.  While the concept of willingly amputating a healthy limb might be very disturbing to most, does anyone have the right to determine what individuals do with or to their bodies?  Does anyone have the right to define what is a “normal” body?”  Why can a medical procedure be stigmatized when used in one situation, yet not be stigmatized for another?

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