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IOTM – Jospeh Jensen

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].

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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.