My one year anniversary working as a director at Intact Houston is coming up in just two months! I’ve learned a lot in a year (and to think I believed I already “knew it all” back then)…
- I learned… we don’t “leave” babies intact, we “keep” them that way.
- I learned… it’s more correct to use the term “intact” or “natural” as opposed to “uncircumcised.”
- I learned… peaceful, gentle advocacy is more effective at saving babies than harsh pressuring.
- I learned… the difference between the terms “genital integrity” and “genital autonomy,” and when it’s most appropriate to use each. (Integrity describes the whole, intact nature of the body part, while autonomy refers to the body part owner’s self-government of it).
- I learned… how to talk to people about this in person with sensitivity and compassion for the history they bring to their views.
- I learned… why it’s important to prompt these discussions even with people who decide to keep their babies whole because improper foreskin care is a dangerous epidemic in America.
- I learned… about the many circumcised American men who are reaping the benefits of foreskin restoration.
- I learned… what the hashtag #i2 means.
- I learned… that I’m in this fight for the long haul, no matter how long it takes, until our boys are afforded the same basic rights to bodily autonomy as our girls.
These are just a few things I figured out in the past year beyond the months of research into the basics of circumcision that I’d done before taking on Intact Houston directorship (I also help co-direct Intact Texas, Intact Austin, and mentor for Texas’ newest chapter Intact Beaumont).
If you’re new to the topic or wondering where to find answers to any questions, a great resource to start clicking around is Saving Our Sons. (This collection of links in particular is a perfect starting point).
Keep reading to find out how I became an intactivist…
Now for the director introduction I wrote (hastily, mind you!) for my chapter when I stepped aboard with The Intact Network/Dr. Momma nearly one year ago:
“Here is how I was called into intactivism:
I discovered on my own in my younger days that the cleanliness argument (among others) is a big fat lie, but I didn’t bother thinking about it much beyond that. Not my body, not my issue!
Well, fast-forward to when I became pregnant some years later. I freaked out because I realized I knew virtually nothing about babies. So, I questioned and researched everything I could about babies and parenting, and started listening to my gut (there was a little human in there, after all).
When I found out we were having a boy, this very loud warning bell went off in my head rather out of the blue: ‘Protect your baby! Protect your baby!’ Protect him from what, I wondered…
Then one day in my third trimester, my OB handed me my delivery fee deposit papers. The box next to ‘Circumcision’ was pre-checked for me (without even asking me!), right next to the $$$ amount that I’d be paying her for it.
I cringed. I felt violated and manipulated. Something seemed so…wrong.
I immediately went home and scoured the internet to find out if I really HAD to do this to my baby. I discovered that no, I didn’t… but I discovered more shocking information than I fathomed to read. The farther I went down that rabbit hole, the more devastated I got — and the more worried I grew that my husband would still push to circumcise our son.
I quietly gathered as much information as I could arm myself with, and gently encouraged him to look into it for himself and tell me what he thinks. Luckily, he agreed with me wholeheartedly and was probably even more floored than I was that this unnecessary cosmetic procedure strongly endures in America.
I became an intactivist about two seconds into the only video I’ve been able to watch of a circumcision being performed. I had an intense physical reaction. I broke out into a sweat; my heart started racing; I nearly vomited. I threw my ceramic cup at the wall. My heart broke with it.
I wanted to step into that screen and save that poor child, but all I could do was cry.
And so, I feel I have a responsibility, with all that I know, to speak up. There are too many babies who continue to be harmed this exact way, and too many “regret parents.”
I look forward to talking to parents who don’t know better, educating those who didn’t know before, and normalizing the basic right of genital autonomy for ALL babies.
After all, this fight is not against parents’ personal preferences – it is FOR babies’ right to choose for themselves. And to not have to enter a world where such an important box is pre-checked for you.“
Other posts I wrote about circumcision (to date):
“Celebrating Autonomy of the Heart; Educating About Autonomy of All Parts” (PRIDE Festival Houston)
“I Changed My Mind — I’m No Longer Anti-Circumcision” (Association of Texas Midwives Conference)
“To The Circumcised Men Who Really Hate The Pro-Intact Movement” (BSM protest)
“We Breastfed in Public For As Much Attention As Possible This Weekend” (The Big Latch On – how circumcision affects breastfeeding)
“22 of America’s Favorite Things to Say About Male Circumcision” (Chase demonstration)
“Funnyman Jimmy Kimmel Reminds Us: There’s No Comedy in Cosmetic Surgery For Babies” (about meatal stenosis)
“Write a Letter Like This to Help Protect Chase From Circumcision” (Chase letter writing campaign)
“The Park is No Place For a Child To Find Out He’s Circumcised” (community chalking)
***If you’d like to help my fundraising efforts to stock Intact Houston for upcoming advocacy events this fall, all you have to do is CLICK THIS LINK and make a donation of your choice! Also please type “For Intact Houston” in the notes to ensure it goes to the correct place.
This not-for-profit chapter is run entirely by director’s personal funds and your donations. 100% of donations go toward educational materials and events to raise awareness for genital autonomy.
You can also message me if you’re interested to auction off a parenting-related item to help raise much-needed funds.
THANK YOU deeply for your dedication to keeping future babies whole and happy 🙂 ***