OCTOBER 2012: The Intactivist movement in America comprises men and women of all ages and walks of life, all dedicated to one ideal: stopping the unnecessary and cruel act of routine infant circumcision. Particularly inspiring is the growing number of young men speaking out, either about their pain and anger at having been circumcised without their consent, or their joy and gratitude for having been left intact.
One such young man is Joseph Jensen, a recent graduate of New York’s Binghamton University, and the newest staff member at Intact America. We asked him to share with us his own experiences growing up intact. “It was never an issue,” he explained. “When I played baseball in high school, it only came up once or twice, and I was lucky enough to have other intact guys on the team. It was more of a debate, started by someone making a remark; we’d tell him he received the short end of the stick, and invariably we’d win the debate. This was one of the first places that I really tried to debunk the myths about the foreskin being ‘dirty’ and tell people how important it is. The circumcised guys knew it was something we were proud of.”
Working with Intact America, Joe attended the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC this past summer, where he spoke with dozens of delegates from around the world. “I never really thought of circumcision as a human rights violation until I started working here,” he said. Joe’s contribution to our current “Shame On You” campaign (in response to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recent report supporting routine infant circumcision) has been invaluable—and meaningful to him, as well. “As an intact man, I have always felt strongly about eliminating the stigma attached to being intact. With Intact America, I saw an opportunity to help the next generation of intact males grow up in a society free of this stigma. Now that I am working here, I’m even more passionate about the issue and want to protect every child’s right to choose what to do with his body.”
Says Georganne Chapin, Executive Director of Intact America, “Joe is a wonderful addition to Intact America. He’s smart, funny, competent, and a good writer. All that—and a great natural spokesman for intactivism! “
Joe will be part of the Intact America team at the AAP’s annual conference in New Orleans next month, and happily allowed us to take his portrait for our “Men Speak Out” photo campaign, in which men send in portraits of themselves as adults, holding up baby photos. The message to doctors is that the boys they cut today grow up to be men, many of whom feel unhappy that they were robbed of their normal genitalia. If you’d like to participate in “Men Speak Out,” email your high-resolution photograph to [email protected].