Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Celebrating Mutilation

I am currently writing about human evolution, but this item in the news compelled me to cover a different topic today.

Once upon a time there was an adorable little girl named Chastity. She was the daughter of Sonny and Cher Bono and the entire world used to watch her, along with her famous parents, on the television. She was cute, but then again, all children are cute. We want to protect them and we want to help them grow up to be the best people they can be. However, this story does not end well and it breaks my heart, because something inside of her broke and now she is forever damaged. 

As nearly everyone now knows, Chastity became less and less happy with herself. She announced to the world at age twenty-six that she was gay, but her discontent continued culminating with a sex change operation at forty. There are those who would argue that Chastity’s gender confusion is actually a blessing and that she cannot choose her sexual identity. Science still does not fully understand the social and biological basis for gender identity, but does it matter? Are we to assume that just because someone is born a certain way that it is good? Is alcoholism a choice? Many would argue that alcoholism is a genetic disease and alcoholics cannot choose their alcoholism away, all they can choose is whether to drink or not. If alcoholism is not a choice must it therefore be good? Some people are born without arms or working organs, is their condition also to be declared good?

Can we all agree that whether a condition is genetic or congenital (environmental factors that affect one before birth) does not make that condition good or bad? Perhaps a propensity to rage and violence is also genetic or congenital. The genetic and environmental cards that you were dealt do not make you good or bad, it is what you do with them; it is how you overcome their limitations that determine whether you are blessed or cursed.

So, is Chastity Bono’s homosexuality a good trait? Is it blessed by her creator? Let us look at the actions that it caused her to take. She has irreparably mutilated her genitals and other parts of her body. In essence her homosexual drive is no different than the drive that causes teenagers to cut themselves, but much worse because the cuts ran so deep and scarred her so badly. Her mental condition is probably more akin to body dysmorphia in which an affected person is excessively concerned with perceived defects in their body. There are other conditions that are beyond people’s control such as apotemnophilia in which a person takes sexual gratification from the thought of removing part of their body, or when they strongly desire to remove a body part known as body integrity identity disorder. Out of all of these horrible curses, Chastity’s self described homosexuality was probably most akin to apotemnophilia. 

I don’t claim to be able to psychologically diagnose people, but Chastity was so discontented with her body that she mutilated it. Perhaps she had no more choice than the schizophrenics who hear voices, or the bipolar individuals that fight lonely battles with their minds. When we encounter a person who is so self destructive, our natural reaction is fear, or perhaps even anger. If this person is so capable of hurting themselves, what else could they do?

My own feeling about Chastity is not fear or anger, but profound sadness. She reminds me of a beautiful china cup with a deep crack in it. I am not angry at the cup for being cracked, but the brokenness takes a bit of light out of the world. 

Chastity’s broken mind and mutilated body do not make her evil, but the act of mutilation was not a good thing. The true evil is when people try to convince us that her brokenness is good and to be admired. 

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