An advocacy group is protesting male circumcision on the streets of New York City in the hopes that the common procedure will no longer be carried out on infants.
Intaction – a play on the words intact and action – aims to convince American men, women, and doctors that neonatal circumcision is a violation of human rights.
The non-profit organisation was first started in 2010 and their mission statement, according to the Inaction website, is “that every individual has the inalienable right to an intact body. Only an adult of majority age, with fully informed consent, can agree to needless and permanent body modification.”
Circumcision, or the removing of the foreskin from the penis, is one of the most common surgeries in America, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), which estimates the rate is somewhere between 76 and 92 per cent of men.
In America, there are various explanations cited in favour for the procedure, including health and hygiene reasons and as part of cultural and religious traditions.
According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), circumcised males are less likely to contract HIV, herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV) from sex. Circumcision has also been linked to lower risks of certain cancers.
However, Intaction views the “abhorrent” practice as comparable to female genital mutilation (FGM), which is illegal in the United States and exists for the sole purpose of controlling female sexuality.
Spearheaded by founder Anthony Losquadro, after he questioned: “What did the doctor do to my body?” when he compared his own penis to those of male Renaissance sculptures in Florence, Italy, Losquadro decided to fight on behalf of the foreskin, “the most sensitive and important feature of the penis.”
Through “disruptive protests, demonstrations, parental education,”and the use of a mobile education unit which reads: “Foreskin… a girl can hope,” Intaction’s goal is to “raise awareness about the value of intact genitals so that we may reach a point in America where male genital cutting rates are as low as European countries,” according to information sent to The Independent.
The group’s educating of the general public includes descriptions of the four “powers to the foreskin” – pleasure, protection, lubrication, and connection, as outlined in a YouTube video and on the streets of New York.
According to Losquadro, Intaction’s greatest accomplishment to date has been the “personal thanks and gratitude of hundreds of men, women, parents, and expecting parents – for fighting for foreskin, and by supplying the information out that has personally bettered their lives.”
Whether like-minded protests from groups such as Intaction are the reason, or because the practice is simply declining in America, the country reported a decrease in the number of circumcision procedures on infant boys since the 1980s.
Despite the frequency and commonality of circumcision in America, Losquadro told us that he only asks that people: “Don’t assume the issues are linear or that the status quo in America is something to be defended.