This article is constructed from three tweets I posted on Twitter this morning.
Some folk are outraged by Rand Paul’s provocative framing of sex reassignment surgery as “genital mutilation”. I’m not a Rand Paul fan by any stretch, and I’m aware of the manifold trauma experienced by transgender folk. But mutilation means “infliction of severe damage.” Circumcision would qualify as foreskin mutilation, by definition, albeit perhaps justified for various reasons (e.g. religious covenant). Likewise, removal of the penis altogether would constitute genital mutilation, no? Again, a person may believe the mutilation is justified, but that’s a separate question. If James self-identifies as disabled and desires surgery to remove his arm so his physical presentation aligns with his self-understanding, then whether or not the surgery is justified, it would still constitute bodily mutilation.