These are exciting times at Intact America. A rapid succession of developments is pointing to a breakthrough for the intactivism movement. Here are five indications that American public opinion is turning our way.
- Our latest national opinion survey, conducted this year, shows that 1 out of 4 people surveyed said they believe that baby boys should be kept intact. That means we’re approaching “The Tipping Point,” when we reach a critical mass of people who will tip the scales in our favor. Historically, Americans have been slow to accept social change. But once the ball starts rolling, it rarely stops.
- For decades, the mainstream media has ignored the truth about the harm and distress caused by circumcision. But on October 11, 2021, The New Yorker published “A Botched Circumcision and Its Aftermath,” an essay by the renowned fiction writer Gary Shteyngart. He wrote about the emotional and physical pain he has endured for decades since his circumcision at the age of seven. His essay was poignant and powerful, and ignited multiple conversations online and in person. That’s what we want—to get people to stop and open their eyes to what circumcision really entails.
- We leveraged the Shteyngart article to heighten awareness of the intactivist movement. Our letter to the editor of The New Yorker, one of just three on the subject posted on the letters page, further educated readers about the needless danger of cutting away healthy, protective, and erogenous tissue from a baby boy’s genitals. For example, the letter noted that 11 percent of pediatric surgical malpractice lawsuits involve circumcision. The letter also informed readers that doctors in the rest of the world do not circumcise male children and asked why Americans allow doctors to profit from cutting the genitals of baby boys while fighting to outlaw the practice of female genital cutting here and abroad.(One of the other two letters published was written by a urologist, who made several unfounded claims. Chapin wrote to him directly to challenge his assertions. You can read what she wrote here.)
- This fall, a definitive study was published in the Journal of Urology showing that in Western societies, there is no association between a man’s risk for acquiring HIV and his circumcision status. For years, doctors in the U.S. have used questionable African studies to justify cutting children’s penises to lower their risk of acquiring HIV. The new study repudiates that theory, with researchers finding that HIV risk is virtually identical between intact and cut men living in the West.
- Earlier this fall, intactivists Lisa Braver Moss and Rebecca Wald launched a group called Bruchim to foster inclusion of intact Jews and their families into organized religious life. Braver Moss and Wald say the need is great for their initiative because many Jewish people are choosing to welcome their sons into Judaism with a non-circumcising, naming ceremony called Brit Shalom, or “covenant of peace.”
We are encouraged by all this progress. You may see other signs of the difference we are making, and please tell us in the comments below.
But to really end male child genital cutting, we have to stop every participant who profits from or finances this $2 billion industry. Intact America is now crafting a multipronged strategy aimed at shining the light on all these actors: circumcision equipment makers; hospitals that make the space, equipment, and medical professionals available for the surgery; doctors who do the cutting (and nurses who assist), as well as those who reap fees from repairing “botches”; and the insurers that waste the public’s money by paying for the useless and harmful practice of removing boys’ normal genital tissue.
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