As an intactivist and men’s rights activist of a certain age (56) I’m ecstatic to see our fight against routine circumcision slowly being won. The truth about the harm it does and the immorality of this unnecessary mutilation without consent is coming out due to the hard work and dedication of intactvists and their organizations.
But there are still many hurdles to clear – the traditional “rationales” (“it’s cleaner,” “he won’t look like his dad,” “stops disease”) and now some new and really ridiculous reasons for circumcision. On the basis of some flawed studies in Africa, the Clinton Foundation and the Gates Foundation plan to fund a campaign to circumcise millions of African men in the next two years claiming that circumcision reduces AIDS by 60%. Those studies have been shown to be flawed by most independent researchers and that the promoters of this campaign all have something to gain from its implementation. Just thinking about the premise that circumcision prevents AIDS exposes its fallacy out of hand. The United States is one of the worlds most circumcised countries, yet the U.S. also has one of the world’s highest rates of AIDS. Why spend money to exploit Africans based on flawed studies?
Some of us wanted answers to this, so on March 4th, 2013, I and seven other intactivists, led by Anthony Losquadro of Inaction.org, disrupted a Clinton Foundation Event at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with Bill Clinton, Chelsea, and actor Ed Norton, standing and chanting “Stop Exploiting Africans” and “Circumcision Does Not Stop AIDS.” Stunned into silence, the audience heard our chanting while we held hands up high to symbolize the strapped down arms and legs of a baby undergoing circumcision. We had planned to put on “Bloodstained Men” overalls (w/ bloodstained crotch) for the event, but it was too dark and too tight quarters, so we just stood up as is. Clinton finally replied with the erroneous statement that circumcision reduces AIDS by 60%, but by then we started chanting “Condoms, Not Cutting.” I then took the opportunity to tell Clinton that if Africans are told that these circumcisions will prevent AIDS, they won’t wear condoms and millions more will get AIDS. We probably could have engaged them further, but we didn’t want a debate or shouting match, so we started our exit. We were escorted out gently, and out on the street while congratulating ourselves for making our point and not getting arrested, two Secret Service agents stopped us and wanted to talk. They were actually nice, asking if we were anti-Clinton, if we had a leader or belonged to a group, to which we replied that we were just a group of like-minded activists. They appreciated that and remarked that we were well-behaved and really more or less walked out on our own.
We’ve gotten pretty good press – Deirdra Funcheon of The Daily Pulp gave us a good write-up as well as other websites, see: http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2013/03/clinton_foundation_circumcision_protest.php
In retrospect I might’ve said something like this to the Clintons, Norton and the audience: “I’m sure that most of what the Clinton Foundation does is laudable, maybe even good, but this idea of circumcising millions of African men to stop the spread of AIDS is misguided, unethical, and not supported by facts. Circumcision does not stop AIDS.”
I’d like to thank Anthony Losquadro of intaction.org and all the other activists that night, Kevin, Adam, Rob, George, Nick, and David. Great Job!
Hear me tell the story at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvkSWUvTQXs
Visit my YouTube channel jerrytheother
See pictures and other details at Intaction.org and Facebook