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:
- the basic human right to genital autonomy for all individuals, regardless of sex
- the damage inflicted by forced genital cutting, of boys, girls and intersex persons
- foreskin restoration options for those impacted by forced genital cutting
- 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
- the need for congress and lawmakers to grant boys and intersex minors equal rights under law with protection from forced genital cutting
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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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
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.
Image courtesy Saving Our Sons
It was perhaps the first beautiful day of the season and hardly anyone showed up. The morning was slow, and though I was grateful to spend a few hours outside without nearly fainting from the usually oppressive Texas heat, we had come here to talk to people… a lot of people.
The turnout did remain slight all day, but the conversations we had were meaningful. Even those who seemed to think they had no personal history with circumcision certainly had plenty to say… or plenty left unsaid, for now.
At the end of the day, though I did feel somewhat frustrated, confused and deflated, I walked away feeling mostly just thankful. The best part is, I know I wasn’t the only one.
Last weekend I hosted a Peaceful Parenting table for Intact Houston/Intact Texas, local chapters for Saving Our Sons (the not-for-profit organization Peaceful Parenting/Dr. Momma‘s focus on circumcision).
My challenge was to include genital autonomy as one crucial component of the peaceful parenting lifestyle … without calling it by name.
I had spoken with a marketing director at my local Babies ‘R’ Us about setting up inside the store to hand out information. After browsing the Dr. Momma web site, she said she’d love to have us there. In fact, as a company they’re very welcoming toward many of the topics mentioned, she explained. Ones like co-sleeping, breastfeeding (they hold regular classes there for newbies) and child-led weaning, babywearing (regular classes at Babies ‘R’ Us for this too), encouragement of gentle discipline and alternatives to punitive parenting (i.e. spanking and crying-it-out) and so on.
But…(there’s always a but, isn’t there?)