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What I Am Grateful for this Thanksgiving

November 25, 2011

I am grateful to be part of a community of people who are working to end the most basic and malignant form of violence against children – forced genital cutting.

On the one hand, I find it incomprehensible that there are those – parents, doctors, religious practitioners – who decree it their right to inflict this barbarity on a child. On the other hand, I find it not only gratifying but inevitable that, as a society, we are moving toward a greater appreciation of what is right:

  •  Basic common sense (“you want to cut off what?!?)”
  •  Non-intervention when nothing is wrong in the first place (“Don’t just do something; stand there!”).
  •  Acknowledgment of and respect for the rights and wishes of children (“10 out of 10 babies say NO to circumcision.”)

I am grateful to know and work with some of the finest people in the world, in our efforts to end infant and childhood circumcision. The list is long (and growing), but I will mention just a few. First, Marilyn Milos, who is my daily inspiration as well as a fount of infinite knowledge, support, humor and kindness; and Dean Pisani, who believed in us and saw the potential for a new kind of organization –  one in which the dissemination of ideas could occur at an unprecedented range and speed due to the exploding phenomenon of social networking.  Second, the people I work with each day – Amy Callan, Jennifer Konig and  Ted Herman – to craft the message behind Intact America’s work and keep things moving along. Third, to every single person who has taken action on an Intact America page, speaking out and donating to the cause. Finally, to all of my intactivist colleagues who offer their support (and criticism), who respond instantly when their help is needed, who write every day to keep each other posted, who volunteer, and who remain intensely interested and involved because of their confidence in our collective mission.

I am grateful that, together, we are making the world a better place.

Georganne Chapin

  1. December 4, 2011 10:26 am

    Keep up the great work you do, Intact America, and all you intactivists who have already posted your responses. 🙂

  2. SunkenShip permalink
    December 2, 2011 1:19 am

    Did you all see the push that the Gates Foundation and PSI are doing with regard to circumcision and HIV?

    • December 2, 2011 1:43 am

      Yes. It’s really appalling, because all they are doing is recycling and regurgitating the same three African studies, which are loaded with methodological and ethical flaws. And then there are doctors in the U.S. who are using these same three studies to push more infant circumcision in this country.

  3. Dan Bollinger permalink*
    November 30, 2011 8:17 pm


    • December 1, 2011 1:04 pm

      So am I, Dan! As we move forward in the movement, we need to have a guiding organization to unite all the others, to challenge our opponents, to gather allies, and to lead the way to America’s becoming a non-circumcising, intact society again. We can thank Georganne for picking up the banner and running with it so competently. Thank you, too, Dan, for your suggestion to read Doing Democracy by Bill Moyer. It has reminded me that we are right on target with our movement! Our last “trigger event,” the San Francisco initiative, received tremendous backlash from the powerholders and stakeholders. That, too, tells us that we can be proud of our accomplishments because we are being recognized by those who promote and practice the genital mutilation of babies. It’s too be expected that the powerholders will strike back, as Moyer tells us. It’s also a time when some people within the movement, seeing our “trigger event” as having “backfired,” begin to want to separate from the movement or give up. Moyer reminds us that this is a normal part of every social movement, and it’s a time not to jump ship but to recognize that things are progressing as they should. We will have more backlash the closer we get to winning, so we just need to stand firm, continue as we have, and, before too long, we will win! It’s inevitable!

    • December 1, 2011 5:39 pm

      And I am thankful for Marilyn Milos!!!!!!!!!

  4. November 30, 2011 3:23 pm

    For years, doctors tried to convince me to have my adopted son circumcised and I refused. They predicted he would suffer from urinary tract infections and a myriad of problems, which he never has. I knew he would be fine, as in my family, no male was ever circumcised. I am also a nurse and I saw the horrors of circumcisions and how the doctors lied to the parents about the baby feeling nothing. Those babies screamed and even passed out. The babies seemed to go into a catatonic state: just staring, tight-lipped, when they could no longer scream. I never forgot that and swore no child of mine would ever go through that. I am a nurse and passionate about preserving the rights of the infant. In my work with pregnant women, I informed them of the importance of the foreskin and the truth about circumcision. I was reprimanded at my job for giving out this information. I informed my boss that I had an obligation to provide full disclosure to these innocent mothers, who wanted the best for their babies. I was told to stop, but I continued. There is no way that I will participate in perpetrating the myth that circumcision is “safe, painless, healthy.”

    • December 1, 2011 12:50 pm

      Good for you! I was fired for telling parents what I wish someone had told me before my sons were circumcised. I didn’t see a circumcision until I went to nursing school, when my sons were 10, 17, and 20. That’s when I realized I’d been lied to by my doctor and the truth about what had happened to my precious babies behind closed door. I’ve worked to bring an end to this unconscionable atrocity ever since. I am grateful for your courage and your determination!

  5. November 30, 2011 1:34 pm

    I just learned a new term today, for our opposition, from Jim DeMeo: the
    politically corrected castrati!

  6. Rich Winning permalink
    November 28, 2011 10:40 pm

    We need to educate our medical school professors. When my son was born, my concerns about circumcision were met with comments from the doctor such as “Babies don’t feel pain”, “You don’t remember your circumcision, do you?” He did everything possible to dissuade me from objecting to the procedure. This is now he was taught to respond to questions about circumcision when he was in med school. I have real concerns about what century med school attitudes about circumcision are rooted in.

    • November 29, 2011 1:19 am

      Any doctor who is of the belief that “babies don’t feel pain” should be made to endure pain equal to that of having part of your genitals cut off! To me, that is like saying you won’t feel pain if I pull your wisdom teeth out without any anesthesia, only worse. How does anyone know how much pain a newborn feels? Absent knowing that, we have to assume that they feel extreme pain. Thankfully we know now that, yes, infants feel pain! I was told that it wouldn’t hurt my baby…. then the nurse brought back a shaking, whimpering, terrified baby with the sorest, red, raw looking penis I have ever witnessed! It’s a horrible feeling to have been lied to and your baby suffered as a result. To this day, I question EVERYTHING, and always do my own research where doctors or nurses are concerned. LIve and learn, but unfortunately it is my son who has to live with my decision, not me.

  7. alex permalink
    November 28, 2011 12:32 pm

    It would be awesome if we could draw attention to this and the numerous other studies showing harm, the recent AMA policy statement, and policies making it impossible to make circumcision illegal on a major news source like DemocracyNow!. I think of all the regularly watched/listened to news outlets this would be the one mostly likely to run a piece (especially since the above article focuses on the effects of male circumcision on women, crazy world). They have a “submit story idea” section and if we all continually put pressure on them they might realize that this is a huge human rights abuse thats being completely ignored.

    I’d be thankful for that

    • November 28, 2011 6:46 pm

      What a fantastic idea. Since circumcision was voted the most talked about subject by parents in 2010…I don’t see why there isn’t more attention to it in the media. Hopefully there are people out there with connections to make this happen. I would be thankful for that also!

    • alex permalink
      November 29, 2011 4:32 am

      We don’t need connections. I think we are the connection. If there are enough of us continually and repeatedly submitting a story idea on their page ( eventually they would have to wake up.

      Everytime news is released on the intact america or nocirc facebook pages a message should also be included to urge members/followers to contact DemocracyNow!, or any other media outlet where we might have a chance.

    • November 29, 2011 2:49 pm

      I agree, but also encouraging anyone who has influential contacts would also be a great help.

  8. Natalie permalink
    November 27, 2011 11:12 pm

    I am so thankful that I didn’t have my baby circed, at the time because I couldn’t find a good reason to do it. I researched it more later and found all the reasons NOT to. So grateful I decided to leave having surgery on his penis up to him!

  9. Tina Quackenbush permalink
    November 27, 2011 10:01 pm

    I am thankful my brother-in-law just randomly mentioned how bad circumcision is, because a few years later I had a son, and I’m glad every day that I brought him home whole! I even cried in the hospital because I was so relieved that I hadn’t had him cut! I try to advocate for unborn boys that they not be cut….lots of resistance where I live… 😦

  10. alex permalink
    November 27, 2011 5:59 pm

    I’m grateful to all you wonderful people doing whats right and true and kind.

  11. TK REALTOR permalink
    November 26, 2011 4:29 pm

    I am VERY thankful that there are people like these on this forum that are willing to take a stand against this evil that we know as circumcision. I hope to live long enough to see this unethical practice stopped in not only the USA, but anywhere else in the world that uneducated people still practice it! Keep up the good work and just know that I am 100% behind you and your work and so are many other people…

  12. Ron Dempsey permalink
    November 26, 2011 4:13 pm

    Thank you, Intact America, for making the conversation about routine circumcision a mainstream topic. Bringing circumcision out of the shadows, and questioning the so-called parental “right” to mutilate their sons, I believe will ultimately end this violent custom.

  13. R. Grunke permalink
    November 26, 2011 1:38 pm

    i am grateful that our government, as frustrating as it is, does not censor our conversation on circ.

  14. S. H. Walden permalink
    November 26, 2011 8:07 am

    I am grateful that I know you Georganne. I am also very grateful to Marilyn Milos and to the late Polly Strand who introduced me to Marilyn Milos. I am grateful for the knowledge that I have shared with my radio audience. All of this and more I am grateful for on this Thanksgiving weekend 2011. Peace and blessings to all.

  15. November 26, 2011 2:15 am

    And I am thankful for all the important work you do and I am honored to associate with like-minded people who share my passion for baby boys who too often are forced to endure unnecessary surgical alterations to their natural genitals without their consent. I pray for an end to circumcision because I truly feel it is evil in the worst form. I hope to see an end to this barbaric practice in the near future.

    • TK REALTOR permalink
      November 26, 2011 4:24 pm


  16. November 26, 2011 1:02 am

    Thank you, Georganne! I am grateful to you every day for taking the movement away from saying “NoCirc” to saying “Yes!” to Intact America. Your insight, savvy, and skills, along with your courage, compassion, and kindness have thrust the issue into mainstream and you’re holding strong! Your blogs are a delightful way to share your presence with the many who continue to join this crucially important human rights movement…and to encourage us all! I have deep gratitude for all you are doing for the children and the movement. Thank you for answering the call!

  17. November 25, 2011 10:16 pm

    I am grateful for people like Georganne!

  18. November 25, 2011 9:50 pm

    i’m grateful that 20 years ago i chose to leave my son intact and i’m grateful that i work with pregnant and new moms and have been able to educate many new parents, who have also chosen to leave their sons intact as nature intended.

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