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.”