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Should You Restore Your Son’s Foreskin?

This post was written by N.O.R.M. North Houston coordinator Eric Smith (known to this blog as The Designated Dad). We both receive questions from parents who regretfully had their sons circumcised and want to know if they can or should attempt to restore his foreskin. The following information addresses this question.

For a reminder about what foreskin restoration is and how it can benefit men, read about it here, here, and here.

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What Vegans Said About Circumcision

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I know some of you roll your eyes when I say “Circumcision isn’t vegan.” But hear me out.

On a recent weekend, I represented Intact Vegan Network at Texas Vegan MayFest, a spring festival hosted by Rowdy Girl Sanctuary. If you haven’t heard of it already, it’s a vegan-owned and operated farm animal sanctuary in the heart of Texas cattle country. In fact, one of the owners used to be a cattle rancher himself before turning vegan.

“Intact Vegan Network is here to talk about… why it isn’t a good thing to cut off your baby’s foreskin,” announced Rowdy Girl Sanctuary founder Renee King-Sonnen during vendor introductions.

Cue me in the back behind my table, waving.

If bodybuilding, skincare, and musical artists can have a presence at vegan events, and we accept that it just makes sense, it can make sense for a circumcision education table to be there too.

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Changing Diapers & Changing Minds (About Circumcision)

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Cuteness overload “Born Perfect” cloth diaper found here.

The Great Cloth Diaper Change happened this weekend and I spent it educating about circumcision, a surgery that many American baby boys undergo in their early diapering days. I represented Intact Houston at Wellspring Midwifery Care & Birth Center‘s GCDC event, at which attendees attempted to set a new record for the number of babies changed into a cloth diaper simultaneously across the globe.

First, if you’ve ever wondered about how to cloth diaper a baby after circumcision, please read this.

Now I’d like to share some of the interactions we had throughout the day.

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Conversations & More: Genital Integrity Awareness Week

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I just returned from a trip to Washington D.C. for Genital Integrity Awareness Week, which was March 28th-April 3rd. A week full of seed-planting, countless conversations with principled conclusions, minds changed, futures salvaged… This is my kind of activism!

The mission as stated on the web site is to raise public awareness of:

  1. the basic human right to genital autonomy for all individuals, regardless of sex
  2. the damage inflicted by forced genital cutting, of boys, girls and intersex persons
  3. foreskin restoration options for those impacted by forced genital cutting
  4. research based information on intact subjects to a large body of individuals in Washington D.C. – students, educators, tourists, lawmakers, politicians – who take this information home with them to their own circles of influence
  5. the need for congress and lawmakers to grant boys and intersex minors equal rights under law with protection from forced genital cutting

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Live on Whole Mother Show: The Circumcision Decision

 

Houston midwife Pat Jones interviewed myself and Amber Clark for the Whole Mother Radio Show on 90.1 FM KPFT to discuss circumcision. Check out the video above — audio file coming soon!

This was a great way to kick off Genital Integrity Awareness Week (March 28-April 3)!

Please support #GIAW, either by attending, sharing related posts, and/or donating toward the effort.

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For more info:

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Break The Ice About Circumcision: For Birth/Medical Workers & Their Clients

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Gather Your Bravery

Whether you’re a midwife, OB/Gyn, doula, childbirth educator, nurse, or pediatrician, you need to have this talk. You need to bring up circumcision and facilitate an honest, complete, educational discussion about it, just as you would any other birth or newborn procedure.

You routinely provide updated information about, say, epidurals and exclusive breastfeeding, right? Then you must give as much attention to this other elective birth ‘option’ of neonatal genital cutting.

I’m sure it can be difficult to balance the various aspects of your job description: unconditional support of a mother’s choices, preserving her and her baby’s well-being, matter-of-factly offering guidance with minimal personal bias.

Though it may seem that a neutral stance of ‘pro-parent’s choice’ (PPC) is the path of least resistance here, it is certainly not ‘pro-baby.’ As a birth worker, your responsibility of care covers a client’s child as well.

Think about this: Would you discourage a parent from circumcising a daughter if they expressed interest to do so? Or would you refer a pro- female circumcision parent to someone who’s willing to perform the procedure, locally or overseas?

Many PPC birth workers refer pro-male circumcision clients who are expecting sons to what they nickname ‘holistic circumcisers’ (though the very definition of circumcision absolutely defies the concept of holism), which deprives these parents the support and encouragement they need to make a better choice — that is, the choice to give their son HIS own choice.

Remember you might be the only person to ever bring this up with your client during her pregnancy. If she cannot count on her care provider to open up this relevant discussion, who can she count on?

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Don’t Wait To Take a Stand For Genital Autonomy

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A white truck slowed as it rolled by. The same driver swung back around three more times, honking with each pass. This was no coincidence or deja vu.

One of us carried an oversized white posterboard with the words “Honk if you ❤ foreskin” drawn across both sides.

The other eight of us fulfilled some task related to our cause — hoisting other signs, hauling info cards and materials to distribute, capturing the proceedings on camera, or merely accompanying for purpose of solidarity or, in the case of one individual, by chance meeting. Continue reading