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Circumcision Exposed
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Circumcision Affects Lesbians and Gay Men

Circumcision of children of both genders is a worldwide problem that directly affects the lives of over 100 million females and more than 650 million males in the world today. In North America, genital mutilation customs are largely carried out only on males. 

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Circumcision has affected gay men directly and indirectly

Over 80% of adult gay, bisexual and heterosexual men in North America have had their natural genital integrity violated at birth. The remaining 20% of intact males were at times made to feel by the wider culture that their natural state is queer, abnormal, shameful or unclean.

Circumcision affects our gay children

In the U.S. alone, the average rate of newborn circumcision stands today at 60% - with rates as low as 34% in the West and over 95% in the Midwest. Each year, over 1.25 million baby boys are subjected to this unanesthetized and destructive genital alteration - more than 3,300 babies daily - one every 26 seconds! Ten percent of male newborns will grow up to be gay and, of those who are circumcised, many will resent this violation of their bodies and rights.

Circumcision is a sexually oppressive abuse of human rights

Circumcision is a practice of dominator societies under which women, children and gay people suffer. It is part of the old "Father Knows Best" mentality that treats children like chattel and implies that men are too stupid or lazy to practice good hygiene or responsible sex. Even the medical practice of circumcision in North America is rooted in Victorian-era anti-sexual beliefs. Forced circumcision of children violates the individual's rights of body ownership, self-determination and control over one's own reproductive organs.

“The excuses submitted for circumcision...reveal anti-sexual attitudes at odds with the goals of gay liberation. Infant circumcision should be abandoned not only because it violates a defenseless person's rights, but also because it reinforces destructive anti-sexual attitudes that we as gay people need to oppose."

Stop Circumcision (editorial), The Guide: Gay Travel, Entertainment, Politics & Sex - May 1996

See also: Blue_ArrowD096.gif (140 bytes)Valencia Declaration on Sexual Rights XIII World Congress on Sexology 1997

Circumcision of children is anti-feminist

Social, religious and cultural pressures to circumcise infringe on a mother's inherent natural instinct to protect her children from harm. The pain of circumcision alone has been proven to seriously interrupt the natural bonding process of mother and child. Only in dominator societies are women pressured to surrender their children to be genitally cut.

Gender equality demands that the genital integrity, autonomy and rights of ALL children be equally protected

If we in the LGBT community truly believe in gender equality, we must recognize the inherently unequal treatment of girls and boys when there are laws protecting the genital integrity and self-determination of girls without protecting boys. When such flawed laws are adopted, they expose our own cultural chauvinism against other 'barbaric' cultural practices without examining our own practices that many now call barbaric.

While there are differences in the degree of cutting performed on girls versus boys, both practices have extremely anti-sexual histories and excuses. Even the medical practice of male (and female) circumcision is rooted in anti-sexual Victorian-era fears about children and sexuality.

As well, the number of boys affected worldwide by genital cutting customs far exceeds that of girls. Which is worse... to subject 100 million girls to mild-to-severe genital cutting, or 650 million boys to mild-to-moderate genital cutting? 

Of course, it's pointless to create a hierarchy of suffering. All children deserve an open future that respects their bodies, their sexuality, and their human rights. This goal is consistent with the principles of the LGBT movement.

Circumcision persists (in part) because of homophobia

The fear of being labeled queer keeps many straight men from talking seriously about the penis and the problems of circumcision.

Circumcision impacts gay parenting and gays impact circumcision decisions

Lesbians and gay men are increasingly choosing to parent and, until the custom is eradicated, will likely be confronted with this decision. Gays and lesbians have friends, colleagues, and family members who they can educate with the facts about natural genital form and function and dispel the myths of circumcision.

Circumcision and AIDS

Some irresponsible physicians have advocated infant circumcision as an AIDS intervention strategy. They say circumcision removes the "vulnerable" foreskin and causes keratinization (callusing) of the glans, creating a "biological condom." Who wants to be forced to wear a permanent condom? Such misguided proposals violate basic human rights to self-determination (like early calls for quarantines or tattooing of HIV positives). Circumcision as HIV-prevention is a pathetic medical response when one considers that the vast majority of men with AIDS in North America were circumcised at birth. Most European males are intact and AIDS rates there are lower, thanks to good hygiene, responsible sex, frank discussion about sexuality and the wide availability of condoms.

Is circumcision a trivial issue?

The treatment of gay people was once, and in some circles still is, considered a trivial issue. The treatment of children is another trivialized issue. How we treat children determines the kind of world they will create and the state of the world in which we all will live. If we welcome them into the world with no respect for their rights, with excruciating genital pain and encoding the brain with trauma and violence, we're likely to reap those same patterns later. Removing healthy, functioning and erogenous genital tissue from a person without their consent is a serious human rights issue.

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