One of the things I do for Intact Houston (local affiliate of the volunteer-based grassroots organization, The Intact Network/Saving Our Sons) is not only advocate for genital autonomy by sharing thought-provoking images, but by creating original ones too.
Above is the most recent graphic I made for the chapter. I expect it to be my last original graphic of 2015.
So in honor of the year’s baby-saving successes with Intact Houston, I’m listing the top 21 most popular original images I created and posted on the chapter page in 2015.
(Each image is prefaced with the text and links that accompanied it when it was first published).
In honor of Mister Rogers’ birthday today, let’s celebrate compassion for our children and a love for them just the way they are, no modifications needed.
“One of the greatest dignities of humankind is that each successive generation is invested in the welfare of each new generation.” – from The World According to Mister Rogers
Boys aren’t made OR born broken.
Though American parents have the legal right to choose or refuse circumcision for our sons, by agreeing to parent we also find ourselves willfully responsible to protect our sons from unnecessary harm.
The American spirit is founded upon value of loved ones, truth, and freedom. Let’s give our loved ones the liberty of access to the truth, and the freedom of personal choice.
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel recently revealed that he underwent two corrective surgeries for his case of meatal stenosis, a condition that presents almost exclusively in circumcised males.
Your child can avoid this complication (among many other common late-term effects such as erectile dysfunction) if you leave him intact.
- Clinical presentation and pathophysiology of meatal stenosis following circumcision
- Acquisition of Erectile Dysfunction From Circumcision
- Funnyman Jimmy Kimmel Reminds Us: There’s No Comedy in Cosmetic Surgery For Babies
Unnecessary surgery on the genitals is traumatic, no matter the sex. Add in lack of consent for the procedure — we get feelings of anger and violation.
Saying no to circumcision on your baby’s behalf will ensure he’s one step closer toward feeling whole and happy as opposed to traumatized, angry, and violated with no means to verbally express these feelings.
Babies born during the holidays are blessed to spend their earliest days witnessing family traditions in action.
Seeing the hanging of lights on a Christmas tree or lighting of a Menorah; enjoying the smells of family recipes wafting from the kitchen; and hearing the excited chatter and song among cheery people who love each other very much…
There is no place for perfectly avoidable pain and trauma in these first days, which are otherwise full of peaceful tradition (or any day afterward!).
“Many people think circumcision removes nothing more than a little extra skin. The truth is that circumcision removes several critical components of male sexual anatomy…
[C]ircumcisions performed in North America may be more severe than those done elsewhere. In the United States, most hospital circumcisions are done to the Bris Periah standard of removing of the foreskin and, in some cases, some shaft skin.” – The Lost List, NORM
When we change form, without doubt we change function. If we all truly understood the meaning of this, routine infant circumcision would’ve gone the way of the dodo long ago.
Parents take care of their children all year long, not just during the family-centric holiday season. Give your friends’, neighbors’, and own family’s children a great reason to be thankful this year — they can be protected by modern knowledge and the willingness of others to speak up for their rights.
Sometimes it’s hard to separate facts from fiction, or reality from fantasy. Superstitions factor prominently into our culture when anecdotes grow exaggerated, scare tactics become profitable, and sensationalism is popularized over ethics and logic.
What myths about foreskin and/or circumcision did you used to believe?
- Myths About Circumcision You Likely Believe
- Medical History and Medical Practice: Three persistent myths about the foreskin
- FGM/MGM: Similar Attitudes & Misconceptions
As Americans today become increasingly acclimated to the form and functions of the intact male body, many are still strikingly unaware of how to care for it in different stages of life.
In fact, forced premature prepuce retraction of babies and children has become an epidemic among American families who unfortunately took cues from old myths or the incorrect advice of a medical worker who was taught by a system that for decades has only understood circumcision care.
Until a boy can naturally retract himself (sometime around puberty, though this is an average age), the foreskin remains adhered to the glans and should never be retracted by anyone — not even “just a little” or during medical procedures like catheter insertion. Just wipe the penis like a finger, outside only.
After natural retraction is possible, the adult man can clean in the shower by simply retracting, rinsing, and replacing foreskin over his glans. The foreskin normally retracts on its own during an erection as retraction and glans exposure are primarily sexual functions.
Caring for an intact son is easy! Also make sure to inform his alternate caregivers such as babysitters and daycare workers about the general guidelines during diaper changes.
The natural glans (head of) penis exists as a mucous membrane much like the eyeball or the inside of one’s mouth.
In this way, foreskin is analogous to the eyelid or lips. What would happen to the associated, surrounding mucosal tissue if we removed our eyelids or lips?
We can observe the effects of male circumcision for a clue: keratinization (build-up of barrier callousing), drying out, and desensitization of the glans are among the observable physical symptoms.
Still, many medical practitioners advise removal of the foreskin in the case of an otherwise easily treatable infection such as a UTI, inflammation, or repeated irritation. Would they recommend the same amputative surgery as first line of defense in the event of an eye or mouth infection?
We must understand that with any body part, it’s true that when you change form you change function.
Many doctors and nurses tell parents that their son received anesthesia during his circumcision. What they don’t tell them is the “anesthesia” may have just been a lollipop dipped in sugar water (sucrose solution) and an infant Tylenol.
“Most newborn babies do not receive adequate anesthesia, if any at all. Only 45% of physicians who perform circumcision surgery use any anesthesia at all. Obstetricians perform circumcision 70% of the time and are the least likely to use anesthesia – only 25% do. The most common reasons for not using anesthesia? 1) The belief that circumcision surgery does not justify anesthesia. 2) The belief that anesthesia takes too long to become effective. When used, anesthesia takes at least 30 minutes to become adequate for pain relief. Most circumcision surgeries are performed within 20 minutes, in less time than it would take for the anesthesia to become effective.” – Intact Indiana
A pediatric nurse speaks out:
“Parents are told that the babies barely notice and sometimes don’t cry at all – this is an absolute blatant lie. They are also told that pain relief will be provided, but are never informed that all the ‘pain relief’ babies receive is an infant’s Tylenol and a pacifier dipped in sugar water.
An hour before circumcision, babies are denied any breastfeeding (or formula) so they do not vomit and choke when they scream. So sometimes they are already crying and upset before they are taken to be cut because they are so hungry. Babies are returned to their parents when they have passed out and they will not wake up to eat for many hours after circumcision. When they do wake, they are immensely hungry and in terrible pain. I could go on and on… It is the worst part of my job as a pediatric nurse by far. And it happens every single morning.”
This Independence Day weekend, let’s speak up in honor of the equal rights of males, females and intersex.
The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution forbids the denial of any person, regardless of sex, “life, liberty or property, without due process of law” or to deny “any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Female circumcision (FGM, FGC) was outlawed in the U.S. in 1997. Male circumcision (MGM) remains a largely accepted tradition.
All aspects of bodily autonomy may not be protected by law for every human everywhere, but bodily autonomy has always been a human right no matter a person’s culture, race, creed, era, individual’s age…
There’s nothing more American than speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves; showing respect to those who will inherit our country; doing better when we know better.
Pursue the gentle path toward independence!
In the U.S., forcible removal of the male neonatal prepuce is commonly known as “male circumcision” — and sometimes even simply referred to by a minimizing euphemism such as “the snip” — rather than as the male counterpart to FGM or “Female Genital Mutilation.”
When does a cosmetic procedure such as circumcision fulfill the definition of mutilation? …At the very moment it is known that willing consent has not been provided.
And who alone is qualified to give this consent?
“[P]arents can give consent for a procedure for their child – [but] that’s PROXY CONSENT – in a case of treatment or diagnosis, and circumcision is neither. You are not treating a disease and you are not trying to diagnose an illness.” – Dolores Sangiuliano, RN (uppercase emphasis mine)
Circumcision, like any other type of cosmetic bodily alteration, deserves recognition as a personal choice of the affected body’s owner, not the choice of the owner’s parents or doctors.
One of the most common reasons modern parents circumcise their sons is because they don’t think to question the concept of “it’s just what you do.”
The difference between following this passive thought process and recognizing the full consequence of what would’ve been a flippant decision may be as simple as briefly reflecting upon the reality of what circumcision is, what it removes, and whether one would choose it for himself later on.
With all the time we dedicate to making sure our children’s lives are safe, healthy, and happy, it’s understandable that some things will have to slide.
Don’t let a decision as important and PERMANENT as circumcision get away from you before looking into it first.
Another person’s penis is no one’s business but that person’s. It’s not his friend’s business, his doctor’s business, his parents’ business, or anyone else’s to disempower with personal opinions or ‘treat’ with forced alterations.
It’s the owner of the body part who should get to decide with whom he entrusts its care.
A baby cannot speak for himself, but if he could, he’d say: “No incision is a good decision!”
“Infant circumcision is made more acceptable by believing the notion that there is a flap of skin at the end of the penis called the foreskin which hangs over the glans and circumcision simply removes that flap.
This is factually incorrect.
By thinking that the foreskin is separate or ‘extra’ tissue it is easier to believe that its removal does little to impact or change the rest of the skin of the penis….
What the operation called circumcision actually does then is to interrupt and significantly reduce the skin system of the penis to a fraction of its normal anatomical and functional extent.” – Francisco Garcia, CIRP, linked below
- What is circumcision and what is it not?
- Myths About Circumcision You Likely Believe
- Intact vs. Circumcised Outcome Statistics
Boys grow up to be older boys and men, many of whom have questioned why they weren’t given the opportunity to consent to a surgery resulting in the permanent loss of their most sensitive organ, the foreskin.
Many more will question what became of their amputated foreskin — Was it discarded? Sold to the cosmetics industry? Used for skin grafts?
Naturally, many men who found truthful answers to their questions feel robbed. Are you getting truthful answers to your questions about circumcision?
- What is lost due to circumcision? – The Lost List
- Men Ask: Why Was I Circumcised?
- Harvesting amputated foreskin for testing and other uses without owner’s consent
Some circumcised men are starting to feel like the odd guy out in the proverbial locker room of America. They’re not exactly happy that others have taken notice…
An intact body has “become the normal condition” for the newest generation of boys, says the Centers for Disease Control, which put the national average of cut baby boys at 32.5% for those born in 2009. Though an intact body has in fact always been “the normal condition” and the majority of the world’s male population remains intact, the vast majority of adult males living in America are circumcised.
Among these men is the type of individual in which we see a perceived incapability of commiserating with babies’ feelings; then it has smacked him in the face with a moment of serious self-reflection, and we all know it: He’s not hopeless, he’s just nowhere near ready for this.
Because somewhere along the way, someone didn’t care about his feelings. At one time, he was that baby we would have tried to save. Maybe he was born into an era when medical study “evidenced” that he was incapable of feeling anything at all in his newborn body. That very first person who didn’t care about his feelings is still out there — maybe it was a doctor blindly following orders, or a parent whose overbearing ego was at stake, or a whole society made up of persons who profit royally from the trauma and de-sexualization of the next generation of men.
He’s simply behaving as he had been primed by early experiences in a cutting culture.
The rest of the truth is — babies are born perfect, foreskin is an important, multi-functional organ, and circumcision is not a parental choice.
This is why keeping all pieces of one’s child intact (a respect perhaps his father wasn’t afforded) is more important than keeping the peace in a relationship between two individuals who refuse to agree, no matter how complicated and emotional the history that led them to views at an impass.
- To the (Happily) Circumcised American Man
- Realization of Circumcision
- To the Circumcised Men Who Really Hate the Pro-Intact Movement
- The Vulnerability of Men
Peaceful parenting is a gentle and natural philosophy built upon respect, protection, and nourishment of children’s minds, hearts, and bodies.
Historically, babies have always turned to mother’s breast to satisfy their basic needs for food, comfort, and warmth. And many cultures still find sharing a family bed with their young to be the norm for many years.
Though a few cultures have made a tradition of circumcising their children, most of the world’s parents choose the peaceful route of keeping them intact.
If nature makes it so, if biology mandates it as standard — is it really so optional without consequence?
Both breastfeeding (normal infant feeding) and an intact body (normal human anatomy) are part of this design for many reasons.
We need to educate ourselves about those reasons and pass them on to future generations so they will benefit from trust in nature’s plan, too.
Just like breastfeeding is not damaging, foreskin is not a defect (in fact, being born without a foreskin IS a rare congenital birth defect — see below).