The West is Too Privileged: Critical Deconstruction of Transabilism

Scrolling through my instragram story feed, I was introduced and subsequently horrified by the new “trans” reality of transabilism, the apparent claim that they are people who are abled body but feel the need to be disabled. Such a belief can often lead to self-mutilation and harm in order to transform their bodies into their apparent true disabled self. While one may like to immediately dismiss this as a right load of nonsense, it is the role of the philosopher to take this seriously and critically deconstruct such a ridiculous belief. In order to get to the bottom of this reality, I will first analyse the claims of transabilism before moving on to talk about the wider social implications of transabilism.

An Article by Pink News on Transabilism

What is transabilism:

We have heard for a long time about the transgender phenomenon, people feeling like they are of a different gender than that of the body in which they are trapped. However, new research seems to support a new form of trans-identity, that of transabilism. The idea that someone purposefully inflicts a disability upon themselves to match what they truly feel like.

By disabiling oneself, it is like a millionaire burning money in front of a poor person, or a well-educated person insulting a good education in front of someone who has never experienced a school environment in their lives.

Joshua Yen

The strongest case for transabilism:

Now that we understand what transabilism is, what is the strongest argument that one can give for it? Well, I believe it is the classic argument that most liberals give in defence of everything, I have the right to do what I want with my body.

Is there any other argument? Perhaps it is—let me express who I truly am, a disabled person.

But are these really convincing arguments?

Problems with Transabilism:

Firstly, I would like to wholly agree with the first argument, I do not believe we should interfere with what someone can do with their own body, it is their choice (note: I do not think such an argument actually applies to abortion, but that’s for another blog). But that doesn’t mean I think what they are doing is right! I don’t think there’s anything I should do to stop someone from killing themselves or spending their entire life rotting away in a small cupboard watching pornography, they are all expressing the libertarian dictum of “my body, my choice”, it doesn’t follow that those actions are morally good.

So we have established that we shouldn’t stop people from disabiling themselves, but that leaves the second question open, is it morally good for people to disable themselves?

Short Answer: NO!

Long Answer: NO! For multiple reasons:

  1. There are people who are actually suffering from disabilities! By promoting transabilism, we are promoting the fetishisation of disability, making it a “cool” trend which people could buy into at a whim. What this does is make disability a currency, a “standing-reserve” in Heideggerian terminology. The subject—the human—is fully detached from their disability, the disability becomes a further attachment to the human, something which can be purchased or manipulated into existence. This diminishes the struggles of actually disabled people and is disrespectful in the highest degree!
  2. Our bodies are a gift! Regardless of whether you are religious or not, there is a common understanding that our bodies are sacred. We have intrinsic rights to our bodies such that other people cannot violate or harm our bodies. Likewise, it is important that we respect our own bodies. We have legs to walk, hands to act. By violating such things, even to ourselves, we slowly diminish its value on a sociological scale. Notice throughout history, all the biggest changes in values often occur because the individuals stopped caring about the certain aspects. In Nazi Germany and other authoritarian states, people learnt to accept lying on a daily basis. In a similar sense, once disrespect for our own bodies begin, we must ask ourselves, what will follow!
  3. People take being abled for granted. Being fully-abled is similar to being rich or being well educated, it is a privilege tied up to each and every one of us. By being fully-abled, one is able to access more things and function more efficiently in the world. To trade this away demonstrates a lack of appreciation of one’s gifts and one’s privilege. For example, by disabiling oneself, it is like a millionaire burning money in front of a poor person, or a well-educated person insulting a good education in front of someone who has never experienced a school environment in their lives. It shows a lack of privilege and understanding of one’s social position!

How it reflects on Society:

From our previous reflections, it seems evident that the transability phenomena ties back to two problems in society, a lack of appreciation and an abundance of privilege.

  1. A lack of appreciation. In the West, a lot of children and teenagers have everything spoonfed to them. All you need to do is look around and you see kids extremely pampered and cared for. Even children who are in lower-middle class families rarely experience any true hardship of disabilities, poverty and suffering. This creates an environment where people are not appreciative of what they truly have. When people stop appreciating their gifts, they can easily take it for granted and view themselves as the norm when in reality they are not! There is nothing wrong with privilege, it is important that we recognise it and make the most of it!
  2. An abundance of privilege. Building upon the previous problem, when people have too much privilege, it is often the case that smaller issues become way bigger. Up until the 21st century, humanity was always struggling with massive problems, be it famine, war, starvation, disease, you name it. The last thing people cared about was whether they felt disabled or not. This is not to say that world is any better or worse than that today, but if we talked about the problems the every day person faced in the 21st century, our ancestors would be disappointed with how much we complain about such little things. The same can be applied to the transability phenomena. Life is way too easy for them! If their biggest problem is that they feel they should be disabled, there is something clearly wrong with their image of the world. Imagine the sufferings of many a man all around the world, and then one is faced with someone who is struggling for being able-bodied… WHAT A JOKE!


Joshua Yen is the Founder of Logos Education, runs three YouTube channels, and runs a Top 20 podcast. He is currently an undergraduate at the University of Oxford, reading Philosophy and Theology. He is a published author of the book Christianity for All and regularly provides educational content on the topics of philosophy, theology, university applications, and more. In his free time, Joshua enjoys playing football, fishing, and supporting Chelsea FC.


Now that we have done as philosophers should do, critically analyse transablism before utterly destroying it, I mean critically deconstructing it, we have established the insuperable objections to such a ridiculous notion whilst respecting their possible arguments. I hope you enjoy this blog, and make sure you follow us for more!

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