INTACTIVIST OF THE MONTH: Christopher Maurer
One of Intact America's greatest strengths is the diverse and supportive intactivist community. Our "Intactivist of the Month" series highlights some of the most ardent opponents of infant and childhood circumcision, whose tireless efforts will ensure a future where all babies are kept intact.
DECEMBER 2016: Our Intactivist of the Month for December is Christopher Maurer.
Christopher Maurer is a Houston attorney, well-respected certified financial planner, and a past treasurer of the largest Republican club in the city. He probably does not fit the public's image of an intactivist. But he is one of many under-the-radar advocates trying to change the public's opinion about circumcising baby boys. What's more, he believes his establishment ties show that intactivism has become an organized movement, and that it will eventually become a mainstream belief.
Using Bill Moyer's typology in the book "Doing Democracy," Chris describes his own role in the intactivist movement as that of Citizen — "the guy next door who speaks in order to change society for the better."
"Intactivism is rapidly approaching a tipping point – that moment in time when the radical idea of keeping baby boys intact becomes a mainstream issue," explains Georganne Chapin, executive director of Intact America. "Chris is a dedicated colleague who is encouraging adults to have serious and informed conversations about infant and child circumcisions."
While Chris modestly downplays his contributions, he does a great deal for the cause.
- He has pushed (unsuccessfully, so far, but he's hopeful for the future) to end Medicaid payments for infant circumcision in Texas;
- Becoming the first intactivist to exhibit at the Houston BIRTH Fair;
- Talking about the importance of keeping baby boys intact on local television and radio;
- Offering literature and DVDs to clients, colleagues, and friends when a new child or grandchild is expected;
- Attending demonstrations outside medical conventions and institutions in New Orleans, Ohio, Houston, and Washington, DC;
- Displaying an anti-circumcision bumper sticker on his car; and
- Making recurring monthly donations to support Intact America's work.
Chris began thinking about circumcision when he was four years old, when his mother took him to a public health clinic for an immunization. As he sat in the waiting room, he heard a baby screaming, he recalls. He later learned that the baby was being circumcised. He remembers the baby’s mother emerging from the exam room, tears streaming down her face, with her little boy wrapped in a blanket. He went into the exam room where the baby had just been circumcised and remembers the nurse wiping the counter.
While in college at the University of Wisconsin, Chris came across an article about circumcision. He remembers being stunned to learn that doctors actually cut off part of the penis at birth. Thinking circumcision was so bizarre — similar to binding feet or putting hoops through one's nose — he assumed that virtually no one was circumcised. He soon came to realize that everyone he knew was circumcised, except for one high school football friend, now a professor at the University of Iowa Medical School.
"You think there must be something wrong with you because no one else apparently thinks the way you do about circumcision," he says. But all that changed in 2009 when he saw Ms. Chapin speaking out against circumcision on MSNBC. "I said, 'Wow.' I always thought I was the only person who thinks this way," he says. "I immediately sat down and wrote a check to Intact America."
Ms. Chapin says that like Mr. Maurer, "Countless men and women have written, called, or spoken to me personally about what discovering Intact America has meant to them. Many are men who were circumcised as babies, and who realized as teens or adults that they had been robbed of their autonomy and a fully healthy sexual life. They are profoundly grateful to have found a community where they are acknowledged and understood—where their voices are heard."
Mr. Maurer says he will keep trying to make a difference. "If you keep whacking a big rock, sooner or later, it will crack," he says. He points to the example of Ronald Reagan, who said the same thing for many years before his ideas became mainstream. "Society has to change over time, which I think it will."
The father of two grown children, Mr. Maurer says he did not circumcise his son. "He played basketball throughout grade school and high school, and was never teased in the locker room. Nor has he suffered any medical consequences cited by pro-circumcision authorities," Mr. Maurer says. "My son is 26 and intact, and he's still waiting for that first problem," he laughs.
Visit our Intactivist of the Month Archive page to read about previous intactivists we've highlighted.