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IOTM – Franny Max

OCTOBER 2015: October’s Intactivist of the Month is Franny Max a powerhouse advocate for the rights of children. Franny first learned about circumcision 12 years ago when, pregnant with her first son, she began researching the topic. “It was really strange, because all the pregnancy and birthing books talked about the ‘Circumcision Decision’.

In fact, in our culture (we are from Europe), we do not circumcise; there is no decision. Everybody in my family and my husband’s family is intact — fathers, grandfathers, brothers, nephews, cousins, in-laws, uncles, on both sides of the family.

“And incredibly,” she jokes, “nobody has died from a diseased or defective foreskin, and nobody has needed to be circumcised!”

“I used to think it was alright to circumcise for religious reasons,” she says. However, the piercing screams of the newborns being circumcised in the NICU, where her younger son was fighting to survive, changed Franny forever. “Here were these babies, wheeled in on an open cart, with an audience of medical and nursing students and residents watching an amateur practice his first-ever surgical procedure on a fragile baby. The parents were not around to witness the surgery or hear the babies’ screams. That’s when I realized the right to your religion ends where another person’s right to bodily integrity begins.”

Franny is active both on-line and in real life. She helped run a huge letter-writing campaign to the Colorado Senate to not resume funding circumcision. She created one of the first ever intactivist petitions to the La Leche League to include information about how circumcision harms breastfeeding, and she runs a successful Facebook page about the topic. Franny is also the brainchild behind Intactivists Stop Circumcision and its sister groups, as well as the hugely successful “Circumcision Resources” pages, with over 165 Facebook pages in cities found all over the world. You can find an index to those pages on her website here.

Franny has demonstrated with the Blood-stained Men since 2013, and has organized protests against Oprah Winfrey’s Foreskin face cream (Skinmedica) in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal; she also organized local protests against Bono’s support of mass circumcision in Africa, which ironically, is likely to increase the spread of HIV/ AIDS.

Franny’s favorite chant is, “If you cut something, you make it smaller, not bigger. If you cut a loaf of bread, you have a smaller loaf of bread. Same thing with circumcision! Circumcision makes the penis smaller! Do you think your son is going to thank you for carving him a smaller penis?”

Asked about Intact America, Franny said, “IA is an amazing professional organization, promoting genital integrity for all children. I was thrilled to be with IA at this year’s NYC Pride event, where many people said we had the best float. As a leader in in the fight to obtain equality and protection for baby boys, IA has a polished website with excellent resources, a great Facebook page with excellent memes, and huge daily engagement. All of this is invaluable for the credibility of our movement.”

“The feelings is mutual,” says Georganne Chapin, Intact America’s Executive Director. “Franny has this unbelievable energy — whether marching, talking to onlookers, writing Facebook posts, or coming up with new ideas, Franny is unstoppable. And she’s fun to work with! It’s impossible to quantify the contribution she’s making to our cause, but certainly thousands of intact boys owe her a debt of gratitude.”



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.