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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

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Isn’t the Ghost Inside a Single Onesie More Than Enough? (My Experience at GIAW 2017)

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Image courtesy Saving Our Sons

Here we gathered, sixty four of us. All affected by circumcision in one way or another, the lucky among us protected from the worst of its damage. Sixty four of us prepared to deliver the message that natural bodies are normal, healthy, and beneficial; to leave the alteration for medical necessity or personal consent.

We were here for Genital Integrity Awareness Week — which, in the great fortune of the 2017 calendar — happened to fall on the same week that female genital cutting was outlawed in the U.S. twenty years ago.

For the past two decades, baby girls have been protected from threat to their genital integrity, but their brothers, sons, nephews and grandsons are still routinely cut in barbaric fashion. Some die, and the rest bear the telltale scar forever.

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Image courtesy Saving Our Sons

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Is Infant Circumcision Incompatible With Breastfeeding?

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Is circumcision the ‘Voldemort’ in a conversation about early breastfeeding difficulties? Though it’s a studied certainty that infant circumcision can have ruinous effects upon breastfeeding, it seems only the rare or high-profile breastfeeding expert dares to mention this risk by name, much less maintain an official protocol for assistance if challenges arise.

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Listen to Intact Houston On Air: The Circumision Decision

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The lovely Pat Jones of the Whole Mother Show (90.1 KPFT) asked if I’d like to be interviewed for a live episode about routine infant circumcision. It was to be with local doula Debbie Hull, along with my Intact Houston co-director Abbie who’d offered to join me. I was so excited to be there (a little nervous, but mostly excited and actually feeling well-prepared!).

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‘Bad Moms’ & Circumcision

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Several people I know raised concerns about what was said in the ‘Bad Moms’ movie after having seen the trailer with their intact sons within hearing distance — kids old enough to be aware that their perfectly normal private parts were the butt of the ‘joke,’ but too young to understand the illogical reason why. Continue reading

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How Balloons & Condoms Teach About Circumcision at PRIDE

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Handing out penis balloons, wilting in the heat, remembering the victims in the recent Orlando tragedy, spreading positive messages about foreskin… this was my experience of Houston’s PRIDE Festival this weekend.

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