[O]pponents say the prospect of same-sex book-borrowing endangers the moral fiber of the country’s most sacred reading traditions.
“What’s next—gay people at the DMV, being granted licenses to drive cars?” Rev. Brian Peters of Verona, WI said. “Will we be soon seeing gays and lesbians at our local post offices, being sold stamps and mailing packages? We must protect our nation’s public institutions from relentless encroachment by those who threaten our values.”
–Satire from The Onion‘s article Nation’s Gays Demand Right To Library Cards
The Onion’s very funny take on GLBT civil rights issues is funny in its pure hyperbole. It’s such a well done, ludicrous exaggeration for humorous effect that it left me laughing out loud.
Perhaps an equally ludicrous take on GLBT equality is found on the NARTH website in an article by Christopher H. Rosik, Ph.D., entitled Clinical And Theoretical Parallels Between Desire For Limb Amputation And Gender Identity Disorder. But, unlike the satire of the Onion article, this article is sincere commentary.
In this piece Christopher H. Rosik, Ph.D., takes some pretty incredible leaps to draw a pretty incredible final conclusion. Rosik reviews an article by Anne A. Lawrence that compares apotemnophilia to transgenderism. He then, in his commentary, equates the identities of people who desire to remove their limbs to the identities of all GLBT people…
The existence of apotemnophilia raises some very intriguing questions for current discussion about human sexuality, particularly as pertains to transgenderism and the limits of pursuing civil rights for sexual minorities. Lawrence seems mostly concerned about understanding the reasons for finding such parallels between these conditions in order to enhance treatment. But when it comes to the surgical option, Lawrence’s very tentative conclusion seems to beg the larger question: Should surgery ever be considered? However, in the current sociopolitical climate transgendered persons (including transsexuals) are riding the coattails of the gay rights movement with reasonable success. Therefore, given these extensive parallels it may be difficult for the mental health professions to make a rational argument against permitting amputation of a limb that would not also apply to the amputation of one’s sexual organ.
Although Lawrence clearly treats the desire for amputation as a clinical disorder, the trajectory of contemporary sexual minority rights ideology would suggest that this appraisal may well be questionable. The American Psychological Association’s recent FAQ about transgenderism states:
A psychological condition is considered a mental disorder only if it causes distress or disability. Many transgender people do not experience their transgender feelings and traits to be distressing or disabling, which implies that being transgendered does not constitute a mental disorder per se.
…It’s probably a long shot at present, but Lawrence’s observations about individuals desiring amputation would seem to point them toward a strategy of playing up their sexual minority status and affiliating with other sexual minority groups. Then perhaps some day in the future we just might be hearing about the pursuit of GLBTIQA (i.e., gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning and amputee) equality.
I don’t want to get too deep into the subject, but sex reassignment surgery (SRS) for male-to-female (M2F) transsexuals isn’t penis amputation. And for female-to-male transsexuals, SRS is actually penis creation. Calling SRS “amputation” is a misnomer. Plus, there are no standards of care that outline procedures for removing a limb for “identity” reasons, whereas there are standards of care that set criteria for SRS.
But really, that’s a minor part of what Rosik is saying. The underlying message of his commentary on the NARTH website is found in his comparison of those who identify as GLBT, queer, intersex, or any other letter in the alphabet soup with those who identify as apotemnophiles. He is equating the GLBT civil rights movement as having the same moral equivalence of the non-existent civil rights movement for apotemnophiles.
His argument on identity; however, is an Argument Of The Beard — a logical fallacy. He makes the false assumption that GLBT people see ends of the spectrum of human behavior as all being the same, since one can travel along the spectrum in very small steps. The existence of pink should not undermine the distinction between white and red — all identities aren’t considered the same hue, and the LGBT community sees a difference between transsexuals and apotemnophiles.
Let me clarify Rosik’s Argument of the Beard by using a heterosexual identity comparison: Rosik’s comments on GLBT identities would be equivalent to stating that since Christian heterosexuals approve of males and females entering marriage relationships, Christian heterosexuals should embrace the idea of sixty year-old men marrying twelve year-old girls. Christian heterosexuals should then fight for equal rights to heterosexual pedophiles because their relationships are male/female relationships.
That’s a fallacious opinion — Christian heterosexuals and heterosexual pedophiles aren’t the same thing. Not all behaviors or identities one could loosely classify as heterosexual would be considered equal by Christian heterosexuals; just as a Christian heterosexual/heterosexual pedophile argument is fallacious at the face, so is Rosik’s SRS/apotemnophilia argument.
What passes for commentary on the NARTH website is ludicrous — just not ludicrous funny like on The Onion’s website. We’ve seen previous NARTH website commentaries on slavery and gender-variant children — and now this one by Rosik on identities and civil rights. With NARTH’s history of posting untenable, poorly reasoned commentaries, one has to wonder why NARTH is still hosting commentaries at all.