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IOTM – Shawn Jenks

MAY 2011: One of the most common arguments in favor of circumcision is “I want my son to look like his father.” But that argument makes no sense! Dad, if you were missing a hand, would you ask a doctor to cut off your baby’s hand? Would you take Junior in for an anchor tattoo to match the one on your shoulder? Would you give the baby back if his eyes were a different color from yours? Of course not!

More and more American fathers are breaking with this cultural “tradition” and choosing to keep their sons intact, though they themselves were circumcised. As Father’s Day approaches, Intact America honors those men who had the courage to do what was best for their sons. One father in particular stands out: Shawn Jenks, who worked with his wife to make a passionate, honest video about their decision to leave their son whole.

Shawn became involved in the intactivist movement shortly after the birth of his second son. “After seeing the empirical data on circumcision, or after watching the procedure being performed,” says Shawn, “who could rationally support routine infant circumcision? I got up to speed on the topic through organizations like Intact America, NOCIRC, and The Whole Network. I pitch in where I can by helping respond to emails from a modern father’s perspective, writing an occasional article, and by helping my wife assemble and distribute pro-intact information packets. I got involved because I believe that every person has the right to their body. As a circumcised man, I wish that I had been given the choice to remain as nature had intended. I hope through my dialogues with expecting parents that more baby boys can leave the hospital/birthing center the way they entered it—perfect.”

Intact America applauds Shawn and other fathers like him who’ve spoken out in favor of keeping their sons whole and respecting their genital integrity. It’s voices from real people like Shawn that can make the most difference in changing the way America thinks about circumcision!


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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.