INTACTIVIST OF THE MONTH: Julia Legutko
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.
JULY 2016: July's Intactivist of the Month is Julia Legutko, who just celebrated 10 years of marching for intactivism in the NYC Pride Parade.
Julia's first inkling of the circumcision problem happened one day 20 years ago, when she was helping her neighbor change her baby son's diaper shortly after he had been circumcised. She saw the wound, and the baby was crying and clearly in distress.
"Despite this," Julia says, "the mom repeatedly insisted that he was fine. At that moment, I felt she was desperately trying to convince herself — more than me — and that she was looking for reassurance. I had no idea how to help her."
But Julia's intactivist awakening came ten years later — in 2005 — when, as she says, "I first realized I was living in a society that surgically altered the genitals of nearly every male I had ever known!" A public librarian and health educator by profession, she started to do some research, piecing together information about the function and importance of the male foreskin. "I was amazed to learn that it is a normal, erogenous, moveable part of the penis. WHY didn't Americans ever talk about it?"
She began volunteering at baby fairs, and giving presentations to expectant parents and healthcare professionals about the anatomy and functions of the foreskin and the effects of circumcision. Speaking of the hundreds of mothers, fathers, and others she's met over the years who've expressed deep regret, guilt, denial, and sorrow resulting from their ignorance, Julia says, "Circumcision happens when our instincts gets hijacked by a culture rooted in fear. By becoming involved with organizations such as Intact America, I've learned (and am still learning) to turn fear and misunderstanding into hope and understanding."
Regarding NYC Pride, Julia says, "When we first began marching in 2006, we had mixed response from the public. Some saw our message as reassuring, but others were baffled. When Intact America joined us a couple of years later, they helped to spread the message of Foreskin Pride with great authority, and the public response has grown more and more positive.
Drawing attention with a vibrant float, a live DJ and dancers, and fabulous banners and signs for the marchers, Intact America is highlighting a major function of the foreskin — pleasure! This year, the message was seen not only by the more than two million spectators on the day of the event, but also by the hundreds of thousands who read IA's ad in the Pride Guide.
The movement for everybody's right to genital integrity just gets bigger and more diverse. We've come a long way since we began our march!"
Visit our Intactivist of the Month Archive page to read about previous intactivists we've highlighted.