Yes, Mike DuWert Should Be Eligible For Disability Payments
OPINION 10/06/2039 11:30 PM ET
Yes, Mike DuWert Should Be Eligible For Disability Payments

Casey Regen
Person who likes chocolate, cooking and life

CC0 1.0 Image by stevepb | Writer image: CC BY 4.0 Miss Earth Netherland 2014 , Talisa Walters by Ahmed Arafa | Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only.
Why should a brave man like Mike DuWert be discriminated against for his disability?
Likely you've heard of Mike DuWert.

Mike's struggles with Body Dysmorphia have been well-documented, as have his tireless efforts to spread awareness of the condition and advocate for better understanding of, and treatment for BD sufferers.

His sometimes-outrageous stunts to force perception changes of BD sufferers have seared images into the minds of people from Lisbon to Hong Kong, to Buenos Aires.

But today, he can't even get enough money from his own government to put food on the table.

"They said I wasn't eligible for disability payments," he said, speaking to an intimate group of reporters on Wednesday.

The activist, who took steps ten years ago to become surgically blind and have his legs amputated, is forced to rely on the help of family and friends, as well as a continually-updated Krowdfunded page.

"I was told repeatedly that if I had chosen to become disabled that I don't qualify," he remarked.

Clearly the ignorance of the federal government knows no bounds. If they did a little research, they might uncover a few facts.

They might learn that BD sufferers often describe themselves as incomplete, unsatisfactory, or 'wrong'. Or that 85% of them describe their pre-transition body as traumatic to live with.

They might learn that 1 in 3 BD sufferers attempt self-harm. They might realize that BD is a legitimate mental health issue, and forcing someone to live in a body structure they are not comfortable with is the same as forcing someone to live as a gender identity they do not conform to.

Put simply, implying that BD sufferers face some kind of "choice" is bigoted. It is torture to suggest they should live with their body in a state which causes them trauma.

Body Dysmorphia is a recognised mental health issue. The American Psychiatric Association reclassified it from Body Integrity Identity Disorder in the DSM-6 in 2020. It is usually treated surgically, though some sufferers find relief through psychiatric help, sometimes including medication.

Mike has spoken on many occasions of the decades of struggle he faced with his condition before bravely opting to transition to his body integrity identity eight years ago. Congress authorized surgical transableism procedures in 2024.

However, due to typical Republican obstructionism, led by Paul Ryan (who else) a Democratic bill which also allowed for disability payments to those who transitioned was amended in favor of the bill which ultimately passed. Leaving BD patients like Mike to fend for themselves.

"I just want someone to listen. What I've gone through is no picnic," he said, as he chuckled his familiar dry laugh.

Let's hope the federal government is listening.
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