INTACTIVIST OF THE MONTH: Lauren Jenks
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 2011: Lauren Jenks, proud mother, intactivist and founder of The WHOLE Network, didn’t become aware of the issues surrounding circumcision until she became pregnant with her first child, a boy. “I didn’t think about it much until about 2 months before his due date," she says. "By that time, my love for him had grown immensely, and the thought of any painful procedure made my head spin.”
And so began her quest for information--which started with a graphic video of a circumcision procedure. In a wonderful and personal essay called "The Circumcision Decision, which she wrote for the birthwithoutfear blog, she says "My jaw dropped to the floor when I saw the video. I couldn’t stop crying." More research led to networking and the realization that thousands of parents out there shared her abhorrence of circumcision.
Lauren was so moved by the plethora of information she discovered--from reasons why circumcision does not prevent the spread of HIV to detailed information about the purpose of the foreskin--that she founded The Whole Network, a grassroots non-profit organization that has a strong Facebook presence as well as individual locations around the country. "I wanted to be able to reach other parents who were in the same shoes as I, and make sure they had a place for accurate information and support."
Lauren's dedication to intactivism has become a family passion, as well. Her husband Shawn was featured as Intact America's Intactivist of the Month in May 2011, in honor of Father's Day. "As a circumcised man, I wish that I had been given the choice to remain as nature had intended," says Shawn. "I hope through my dialogues with expecting parents that more baby boys can leave the hospital/birthing center the way they entered it—perfect."
"The intactivist community consists of a variety of organizations," Lauren says, "each with their own approach, yet always working together for a common goal. Intact America holds an invaluable place in the movement, and I'm so thankful for what they do. Whether it's standing up to the CDC or AAP, placing powerful ads in large newspapers, or providing accurate information to medical professionals at conferences, you can bet that Intact America is making great strides for human rights."
"Lauren Jenks, through The Whole Network, has expanded the reach of intactivism to a larger and larger community of young parents who are learning the truth about circumcision and deciding NOT to cut their baby boys," says Georganne Chapin, Executive Director of Intact America. "She epitomizes a spirit of collaboration among organizations united around a common cause, and proves the principle that 'a rising tide floats all boats.' By all of us working together, we will are making ‘intact’ and ‘whole’ the new norm for American males.”
Visit our Intactivist of the Month Archive page to read about previous intactivists we've highlighted.