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IOTM – Gillian Longley

JUNE 2011: Gillian Longley, a neonatal nurse and devoted intactivist, has been co-coordinator of the Colorado chapter of the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC) since 2005, and is a member of Intact America’s Board of Health Professionals. She speaks out frequently in defense of infants and their right to genital integrity, and has discussed circumcision and the intact penis with nurses, doctors, doulas, midwives, parents, legislators, and academic audiences. Her two-part “Mother Nurse Intactivist” video, which tells the story of how she became involved in intactivism, brings a loving, empathetic voice to the plight of nurses and mothers forced to deal with this barbaric practice.

“I saw circumcisions as a nursing student, and at that point I had a gut feeling that it was barbaric, that I would never do this to my own children.” After raising two intact sons, Gillian resumed her work in hospitals, and found herself face to face with the same issue — children being forced to undergo painful, medically unnecessary surgery. “The revulsion I had felt before was still there.” She refused to participate in circumcisions, and began researching the issue more thoroughly. “I realized, this is wrong, REALLY wrong! I’ve got to make sure this ends, do something to change what’s going on in this country with circumcision.”

Gillian also champions the right of medical professionals to object to performing or assisting in circumcisions. “An important change that needs to happen is instituting support for doctors and nurses who object to participating in circumcisions as a matter of conscience. I myself have twice been threatened with termination from my hospital job for refusing to assist with circumcisions, and have had to fight for recognition of my right to conscientious objection. I believe that when enough health professionals are educated about the value of the foreskin and the ethical problems with non-consenting circumcision of minors, more and more of them will be willing to stand up and say, ‘No, I will not participate in this.'”

“Gillian’s willingness to speak out bravely in the workplace is a huge inspiration to intactivists who themselves have been intimidated and vilified for their efforts to protect babies from a cruel and mindless custom,” says Georganne Chapin, Intact America’s executive director. “Her mastery of the medical facts also makes her an effective teacher with parents and other health care professionals. Gillian is a jewel.”

Addendum: Longley is now involved with Nurses for the Rights of the Child.



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.