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IOTM – David Grant

JULY 2015: This July we honor David Grant, intactivist and volunteer extraordinaire, whose on-the-ground organizing made Intact America’s presence at the 2015 NYC Pride March a rousing success.

David was born in South Carolina in June 1969 – just weeks before the Stonewall Riot and one year before the first Gay Pride March. “I always felt great inspiration about being born in a year that shook the world,” he says, “and in times of self-doubt and fear, I use that to pull me out.”

“I knew as early as I have memories that I was gay, and though I had loving parents, I knew my answers lay elsewhere.” So at the age of 17, David jumped on a Trailways bus to New York City.

His intactivism started years later with a tiny mention of Intact America in Next magazine, a popular weekly that covers NYC gay nightlife. In a small column, it briefly mentioned actor Alan Cumming’s appearance at a local club, where he “suddenly” brought up the subject of foreskin and talked about his support for a group called Intact America.

“Alan talked about the way the foreskin enhances sexual pleasure, things I didn’t know,” says David. “I immediately got on my computer and found Intact America’s website. My life would never be the same. I refer to it as the deeply personal, ‘Killing Me Softly With His Song,’ effect. When I read about the harm from circumcision, it was my own story. All the complications… I knew them well because I lived them, and still do.”

From that time, David joined intactivist campaigns, demonstrations, and protests. “You name it, I do it. Online and on the street. I strike from all angles with my own money, my time and – believe me – my own blood, sweat, and tears.”

NYC Pride Parade 2015

NYC Pride Parade 2015

“For the most part the gay community is very open to the intactivist message. What we have in common is questioning social norms and religious bigotry, and we fight for the same cause: Neither our parents, nor our culture, nor any religion owns our bodies, and only we can decide what to do with them. So, as they say, we are family. Also, gays have always been parents, but today it’s openly and legally accepted. Tragically, though, it’s still quite legal to cut children’s genitals if they are male. LGBT American parents, just like ’straight‘ American parents, are faced with the same question of keeping their boys whole or taking a knife to them.”

Protest Group
In 2006, a small group of Intactivists were approved to enter the New York City Gay Pride parade – among them, Julia and Emily Legutko, who later took up the Intact America banner. This year’s march, on the heels of the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, was the largest ever. David’s organizing skills and passion were much in evidence, as this former kid from South Carolina directed Intact America’s demonstrators, float drivers, disc jockeys, parade assistants, demonstrators, and dancers through the complexities of an event attended by more than a million people. The resonance of Intact America’s message was abundantly clear, and the sparkle in David’s eyes – as he danced and twirled and strutted his banner – was priceless.

“When I came to New York, all my dreams were here, just waiting for me,” says David. “The greatest of them was Gregory, my boyfriend of 23 years, who supports my intactivism, and whose love is as constant as the North Star.”

“The moment I heard Alan Cumming’s words and discovered Intact America, there was a realization inside of me that would reshape my future. I knew I had been treated like cattle, put through a slaughter house, carved up and branded with a scar I will carry to my grave. But I will not go quietly to the grave with this indignation. I will do everything in my power to stop another child from being sent to the meat factory. And one day we will prevail.”

“The day David Grant discovered intactivism was the day our burden became easier to carry,” says Georganne Chapin, Intact America’s Executive Director. “With friends and supporters like David, we simply cannot lose.”

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Marilyn Fayre Milos, multiple award winner for her humanitarian work to end routine infant circumcision in the United States and advocating for the rights of infants and children to genital autonomy, has written a warm and compelling memoir of her path to becoming “the founding mother of the intactivist movement.” Needing to support her family as a single mother in the early sixties, Milos taught banjo—having learned to play from Jerry Garcia (later of The Grateful Dead)—and worked as an assistant to comedian and social critic Lenny Bruce, typing out the content of his shows and transcribing court proceedings of his trials for obscenity. After Lenny’s death, she found her voice as an activist as part of the counterculture revolution, living in Haight Ashbury in San Francisco during the 1967 Summer of Love, and honed her organizational skills by creating an alternative education open classroom (still operating) in Marin County. 

After witnessing the pain and trauma of the circumcision of a newborn baby boy when she was a nursing student at Marin College, Milos learned everything she could about why infants were subjected to such brutal surgery. The more she read and discovered, the more convinced she became that circumcision had no medical benefits. As a nurse on the obstetrical unit at Marin General Hospital, she committed to making sure parents understood what circumcision entailed before signing a consent form. Considered an agitator and forced to resign in 1985, she co-founded NOCIRC (National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers) and began organizing international symposia on circumcision, genital autonomy, and human rights. Milos edited and published the proceedings from the above-mentioned symposia and has written numerous articles in her quest to end circumcision and protect children’s bodily integrity. She currently serves on the board of directors of Intact America.


Georganne Chapin is a healthcare expert, attorney, social justice advocate, and founding executive director of Intact America, the nation’s most influential organization opposing the U.S. medical industry’s penchant for surgically altering the genitals of male children (“circumcision”). Under her leadership, Intact America has definitively documented tactics used by U.S. doctors and healthcare facilities to pathologize the male foreskin, pressure parents into circumcising their sons, and forcibly retract the foreskins of intact boys, creating potentially lifelong, iatrogenic harm. 

Chapin holds a BA in Anthropology from Barnard College, and a Master’s degree in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University. For 25 years, she served as president and chief executive officer of Hudson Health Plan, a nonprofit Medicaid insurer in New York’s Hudson Valley. Mid-career, she enrolled in an evening law program, where she explored the legal and ethical issues underlying routine male circumcision, a subject that had interested her since witnessing the aftermath of the surgery conducted on her younger brother. She received her Juris Doctor degree from Pace University School of Law in 2003, and was subsequently admitted to the New York Bar. As an adjunct professor, she taught Bioethics and Medicaid and Disability Law at Pace, and Bioethics in Dominican College’s doctoral program for advanced practice nurses.

In 2004, Chapin founded the nonprofit Hudson Center for Health Equity and Quality, a company that designs software and provides consulting services designed to reduce administrative complexities, streamline and integrate data collection and reporting, and enhance access to care for those in need. In 2008, she co-founded Intact America.

Chapin has published many articles and op-ed essays, and has been interviewed on local, national and international television, radio and podcasts about ways the U.S. healthcare system prioritizes profits over people’s basic needs. She cites routine (nontherapeutic) infant circumcision as a prime example of a practice that wastes money and harms boys and the men they will become. This Penis Business: A Memoir is her first book.