DECEMBER 2014: December’s Intactivist of the Month, Ernesto Echeverria, is a little different from our other honorees. Other than sporting a “10 Out of 10 Babies Say NO” bumper sticker on his minivan, he really isn’t on the frontline. Rather, he came to the issue—let’s say—naturally, and in doing so, helped to inspire the creation of Intact America. You see, Ernesto, who makes his living as a glassblower in Corning, New York, is the son of Georganne Chapin, Intact America’s founding executive director.
“When Ernesto was born in 1980, his father and I would no more have agreed to having him circumcised than we would have agreed to having one of his eyes removed,” says Georganne. “I thought about two things – one was the pain and brutality of the surgery, and the second was how utterly senseless it seemed to remove a body part that nature had given to every single child. And that was that, or so I believed.”
Eighteen years went by. Then, one day during a family road trip, Ernesto brought up the subject.
Georganne recollects: “I remember him saying, ‘Mom, I never thanked you and Dad for not having me circumcised. I just want to thank you so much.’”
It wasn’t until that moment, Georganne says, that she realized the lifelong magnitude of the circumcision decision. “I had thought only about the pain and trauma to the baby. Until my son spoke to me as a young man, I truly had not thought about what circumcision – or, conversely, being intact – meant for the man that baby would become. And not one day goes by since that revelation 16 years ago that I don’t revisit with fervent thanks my decision to let my son keep all of his body parts.”
“As I was growing up,” Ernesto recounts, “I noticed something different about myself compared to most of my friends. What was different was that they had been circumcised and, like my father, I was intact. It took a while for me to understand how relevant this would be to my identity, my sex life, and me being a man. I never thought, though, that this issue would become a movement with legal, ethical and moral implications. I am happy that Intact America is doing this work, so that more boys and men can be proud about their natural bodies and have the awareness of what nature intended for them.”