INTACTIVIST OF THE MONTH: Pete Keay
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.
MARCH 2017: Our Intactivist of the Month for March is Pete Keay.
Ten years ago while living abroad, Pete Keay encountered a confusing fact: other medically advanced nations don't circumcise their children. In fact, he found that the people he met simply couldn't imagine why anyone would cut healthy parts of the genitals of boys or girls.
After a month of research, Pete began writing notes against circumcision. The ensuing debates encouraged longer notes, then articles, then activism. An Intact America bumper sticker was soon displayed on his car.
Pete's first focus was on his own circles. That's tough work, but people slowly came around. On the very day of this writing, a boy was born to a friend who used to dismiss Pete's points; now, thanks to his spreading the word, investing the time, that boy will be kept whole and healthy. "This isn't an isolated case," Pete says. "During the decade I've been speaking out, I'd say I've influenced hundreds of parents to keep their boys intact."
But although personal activism is helpful, Pete knew that genital cutting is a problem that couldn’t be redressed by personal pleas alone. He especially noticed that Christians were generally not being reached by intactivism. "American Christians cut baby boys at very high rates — despite the practice violating the core tenets of their faith and being directly denounced in the New Testament and around the world throughout 2,000 years of Christian history."
Most American Christians simply don't know this, Pete says. That's what inspired him to create Little Images, an organization and website which have become the most comprehensive and effective Christian group working against genital cutting in the United States. "I've uncovered additional mostly-forgotten sources where Christians argue against circumcision, and I am working on a Master's thesis on the topic. It's my hope this will influence many Christian publications and conversations in the future."
Pete is also involved with other intactivist efforts:
- Supporting Your Whole Baby with print design and organizational work
- Refilming Elephant in the Hospital with Dr. Ryan McAllister
- Traveling with The Bloodstained Men
- Working on various upcoming public talks about circumcision
- Launching a monthly pro-intact event in the Philadelphia area, and
- Reaching out via social media to intact males pressured to cut by their culture.
You won't see Pete's name on the half-dozen other related website projects he's helped to create or support, and that's intentional. "When you're working to change a strong cultural bias, all kinds of efforts are needed — from the ostentatious to the subtle, from the impressive to the unnoticed. I have a few strong focal points, sure, but overall I do what I can to help each effort."
"Intact America is among those efforts and is a very important part of this cause. IA was the first professional, truly well-presented group I encountered in the early days of my own activism. It helped me frame the discussion, channel my efforts towards concrete campaigns, and discover others who cared enough about this problem to do something about it. Nowadays, the organization continually reminds me of our strategic goal: an America where intact is the norm. I am very excited to work alongside Intact America and help with the collective effort."
“One of the most rewarding parts of leading Intact America is meeting wonderful people who are making unique contributions to changing the way America thinks about circumcision," says Georganne Chapin, IA's Executive Director. "We know parents love their children and want the best for them. Pete Keay's ability to present the act of keeping boys intact as a loving, faith-based parental decision is invaluable for the intactivist movement and — of course — for children and families."
Visit our Intactivist of the Month Archive page to read about previous intactivists we've highlighted.