Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat. I do not like Sinead O’Connor. The sound of her voice makes me want to kill her even more than she wants to kill herself. Her politics are retarded. Her music is dreadful. She is everything that was lame about the 1990s.
But I do feel for her when she loses control of her mental illness and suffers horribly (even if her way of dealing with it is as annoying as everything else about her). And when it comes to the stigma attached to mental health issues, through all her irritating high-pitched whining, you can hear one very valid point: it doesn’t help anything if you attach shame to being mentally ill. And it’s half the reason people are at each other’s throats about the issue of transsexual people: we’re afraid to say they have a mental disorder, not a physical problem, so we treat it in a barbaric surgical fashion.
Sinead O’Connor with hospital bracelet: Mental illness is subhuman.
If we could deal better with our attitude toward mental health issues, maybe we could get the medical profession to be more bold about diagnosing gender dysphoria as an actual mental problem that can be treated via mental health routes rather than irreversibly cutting off people’s body parts.
Because we can’t deal with the stigma of mental illness, we are instead making it socially and legally acceptable for a physician to take money from a suffering patient and cut off part of heshit’s body. We are even allowing parents to talk their children into being fed hormones at a young age, which is insane. But it’s better than calling someone crazy, right?
Not that a mental illness is an excuse for bad behavior: go ahead and shame people for not taking care of their mental illness, since the fallout inevitably falls out all over other people. If you could force clinical malignant narcissists into sincere self-care, for instance, we would have empty prisons and a full national treasury, and I have no patience for people in my personal life who expect everyone else to deal with their “uniqueness” when they actually should be dealing with their shit. I have no patience left for myself when I don’t deal with my shit. But no one actually contracts suicidal depression just because they’re a shitty person. (Well, except for my suicidal depresson; that all happened because I’m a dick.)
A mentally ill person does not make good decisions. Most of the bad decisions I’ve made when ill, however, can be mitigated, at least somewhat; I wish something or someone had stopped me, but AT LEAST I DIDN’T HACK OUT MY VAGINA. Most dumb life decisions can be somewhat repaired (and at least if you kill yourself, your problems are over).
Genital mutilation, on the other hand—and that is what reassignment surgery amounts to—is an extreme decision, and it’s horribly irresponsible of doctors to be leave it in the hands of someone who’s suffering a mental illness. Would a stockbroker tell a person who was having a manic fit to sell all their shares and buy six thousand gold statues of Covfefe the Trump Chicken? So why would you tell someone to cut off his dick?
Because when you tell a transsexual that they have a mental disorder, in a world where having a mental disorder means you’re a shitty person, then they fly off the handle. Of COURSE they fly off the handle (said in a Cenk Ogre voice); first of all, they’re ill and miserable, and second, what they think is “You’re not listening to me! You’re saying I’m just crazy!” Well, yeah, you’re crazy. That doesn’t mean you’re not in pain. But when we dehumanize crazy people, that’s exactly what we imply: that they’re nothing more than a cloud of assholism that is too incoherent to experience suffering.
Not turning everyone with a mental illness into a joke and a caricature (and honestly, some people are so far out there that it’s very hard for me, as a comic writer, to avoid, particularly if they’re malignant) would do more than help transsexuals. It would help a lot of crazy people who are acting like actual assholes get treatment and become bearable. This should not be attempted via mind control and authoritarian bullshit a la Google or Berkeley; it can only be achieved through those of us who don’t give a fuck sticking our necks out and saying, “Hey, I’ve been in a mental hospital. And guess what? I consequently got my shit together, and I’m probably doing better than you are.”
One of the rays of sunshine that goes around Alcoholics Anonymous meetings is the idea that having to go through AA leaves you in a much better position to deal with life than people who haven’t, because it forces you to face all your bullshit. Same for therapy, as long as it’s good and not just going to pay to get your ego stroked once a week. What percentage of the neurotypical population is drowning in mental bullshit and garbage? Well, look at the state of the world. If you deal with your shit, you can actually get to a point where you’re a stronger force in the world than the average asshole who manages to hold his cognitive dissonance together. But if you’re too afraid to admit that you have an illness, then you’ll wind up destroying all your relationships and wrecking your life.
Sometimes you wreck it so badly, you lose your penis in the process.
No one should lose an irreplaceable body part because they’re too ashamed to admit they’re unwell. Gender dysphoria needs a compassionate cure, but a psychiatric or psychological cure that is ethical and humane. Like any other health issue, a mental disorder should be dealt with in the least invasive way possible. Do no harm: If someone has a brain tumor, you don’t cut off their head. But psychiatrists are probably being bullied as we speak to send patients to someone who will charge them handsomely for the privilege of mutilating their bodies. Forever.
Cognitive behavioral therapy did me a lot of good in a lot of different areas of my life; I’m pretty sure that trying to modify it for gender dysphoria patients is a more reasonable thing to try than irreversible, elective surgery. Maybe you don’t need to give your eight-year-old artificial hormones.
‘Course, even if we get this straight, the other premise that the transseexual debate rests on is the joy-killing, dreary leftist insistence on pounding home their dumb, boring, anti-people idea that men and women are interchangeable. But that is a subject for another post…
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Note on the Note: Some readers have reminded me that some people are actually genetically ambiguous. I thought I had indicated that with the Hermaphrodite statue, but I guess it needs to be made more overt: Yes, for some individuals this is not at all a mental problem, although it can cause mental distress; I have even known a person who tested XX in one part of her body and XY in the other. But lacking genetic ambiguity—if one is clearly a physical man or woman—then a mental disorder is the only logical place to look for the problem. And the ethics of cutting up anyone’s genitals when they are in a state of mental distress are still… well… I wouldn’t personally hack anyone’s junk off for any reason, unless they were a pedophile or serial rapist.
Note on the Note: Now that I think about it, I believe Gavin McInnes wrote a post a while ago making some of these same points, and I may have edited it. I think it was him. So I hereby credit him with part of the thought process; I can’t remember which bits. At least I’m TRYING not to plagiarize, you shits.