Genital integrity

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The symbol of the Genital integrity movement is the ribbon Genital Integrity. It is pink and blue. Pink symbolizes girls; while blue symbolizes boys. The ribbon as a whole can symbolize intersexual people.
The symbol of the Genital integrity movement is the ribbon Genital Integrity. It is pink and blue. Pink symbolizes girls; while blue symbolizes boys. The ribbon as a whole can symbolize intersexual people.
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Genital integrity is a name for the principle that all human beings have the right to informed consent before any alteration is done to their genitals. Proponents oppose involuntary and medically unnecessary genital modification and mutilation, including male and female circumcision or sexual-reassignment surgery.

Contents

[edit] Overview

This viewpoint contrasts with those of practitioners of Judaism and Islam, circumcision advocates and those who advocate sex reassignment among minors. Some in the Genital Integrity movement simply oppose these procedures, saying they are unnecessary or harmful, while others want the procedures prohibited. Those promoting Genital Integrity as a fundamental human right are sometimes known as Intactivists.

Current laws in many western world countries, and laws in several U.S. states, prohibit the genital modification and mutilation of female minors, with some exceptions based on medical need. Those advocating Genital Integrity assert that laws against genital modification and mutilation of minors should apply equally to males, females, and also to involuntary sex reassignment.

Thus, those who agree with Genital Integrity oppose involuntary circumcisions, particularly of minors, and especially infants. Genital Integrity does not imply bias against persons having any particular genital status, and those who agree with Genital Integrity accept the right of individuals to make informed choices about their bodies.

The Genital Integrity Ribbon was created by the "National Organization to Halt the Abuse and Routine Mutilation of Males" (NOHARMM). The pink ribbon symbolizes girls and blue symbolizes boys. The ribbon as a whole can symbolize intersexed people.

[edit] History

From the late Nineteenth Century to the Second World War, male circumcision caught on in many English-speaking countries. The publication of Douglas Gairdner's paper in the British Medical Journal on December 24, 1949 marked the beginning of a decline in the popularity of circumcision in the United Kingdom and then in some other English-speaking countries. John M. Foley, a West Virginia physician, published an article in 1966 that attacked circumcision, claiming it was a mutilation and a fraud. In Australia, IOW Leitch published a study of circumcision in 1970 which found a total complication rate of 15.5%. In 1971, the Australian Pædiatric Association passed a resolution [1] that newborn male infants should not be routinely circumcised. In America, E. Noel Preston published a review of male neonatal circumcision. Also in 1971, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported that neonatal circumcision has no valid medical indication.

In 1975, the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) issued a statement that said, "there is no medical indication for circumcision during the neonatal period." In the same year, the ad hoc committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a statement affirming that, "there are no valid indications for circumcision in the newborn period."

In 1989, a committee of the AAP, chaired by Edgar Schoen, updated its 1975 statement [2]. Citing "new research on circumcision status and urinary tract infection (UTI) and sexually transmitted disease (STD)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome", the AAP stated that male circumcision of newborns "has potential health benefits and advantages as well as disadvantages and risks." In its 1999 statement, the AAP stated that parents should make an informed decision about circumcision.[3]

The Canadian Paediatric Society, the Australasian Association of Paediatric Surgeons, and the Australian College of Paediatrics issued new statements in early 1996. The British Medical Association also issued a statement, which recognised conscientious objector status, regarding the ethics and lawfulness of the circumcision of male children in 1996. These statements are sometimes interpreted as not supporting the practice of circumcision, and as supportive of Genital Integrity. A Canadian statement followed. Fewer newborn boys are circumcised in Canada since the publication of the CPS statement.[4]

The development of the Internet helped the Genital Integrity movement to spread its message. Those opposed to circumcision began creating websites in the mid-1990s, and this process has continued. This period also saw the formation of Genital Integrity organizations in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and South Africa. One prominent U.S. organization is NOCIRC, founded by Marilyn Milos, R.N., in 1986. The organization's stated objective is to secure the birthright of male, female, and intersex children and babies to keep their sex organs intact. Protest rallies have been held in the USA and other areas. Eight international symposia on Genital Integrity have been held around the world. The 8th was held in Padua, Italy, in September, 2004.

Although no membership figures are available, Genital Integrity organizations entered the 21st century reporting a continued growth in strength. The worldwide impact of the movement is unknown. In the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand, the number of children who have been circumcised has decreased, while in Australia the proportion of children being circumcised decreased and then slowly increased. In the United States, according to figures from the National Center for health Statistics, overall figures for neonatal hospital circumcisions have fluctuated between 1979 and 1999. A sharp decrease in circumcisions in the West was counterbalanced by a moderate increase in the Midwest and South of the country. [5]. When broken down by race, circumcision rates among Whites remained the same while circumcision rates among Blacks increased between 1979 and 1999 [6]. No reliable data are available to indicate any global trends.

[edit] Sexual Dysfunctions

It is the opinion of some intactivists that foreskin has up to twelve functions, such as to contact the G Spot. [7] It is the opinion of some researchers that foreskin can be a tool for intercourse. In the book Sex as Nature Intended It author Kristen O'Hara argues that foreskin is a natural gliding stimulator of the vaginal walls during intercourse, increasing a woman's overall clitoral stimulation and allowing for the achievement of female orgasm more often and in shorter periods of time. [8] It is therefore believed by some that the absence of the foreskin and gliding action makes it more difficult, not impossible, for a woman to achieve orgasm during intercourse.

[edit] Legislation

In 1996, the U.S. congress passed the Female Genital Mutilation Act which prohibited genital modification and mutilation of normally-developed female minors. Similar laws have been passed in the United Kingdom and Australia. In Africa, where female genital mutilation is most common, there is a widespread movement to abolish the practice.

[edit] Activism

[edit] International

The National Organisation of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC) has organised a series of International Symposia in cooperation with local Genital Integrity organisations since 1989. They were

  1. 1989 Anaheim, California (on Circumcision)
  2. 1991 San Francisco, California (on Circumcision)
  3. 1994 Maryland (on Circumcision)
  4. 1996 Lausanne, Switzerland (on Sexual Mutilations)
  5. 1998 Oxford, England (on Genital Mutilation)
  6. 2000 Sydney, Australia (on Genital Integrity)
  7. 2002 Washington, DC (on Genital Integrity)
  8. 2004 Padova, Italy (on Human Rights and Modern Society: Advancing Human Dignity and the Legal Right to Bodily Integrity in the 21st Century)
  9. 2006 Seattle, Washington (on Circumcision, Genital Integrity, and Human Rights)

The proceedings of several of these symposia have been published in book form.

[edit] United States

Genital Integrity Awareness Week (GIAW) includes an annual demonstration and march in Washington, DC against infant circumcision. The organizers refer to themselves as "Intactivists", a blend or portmanteau word, created by combining the words "intact" and "activists". Intactivists are activists for human genitals remaining intact. The slogans "The Foreskin Is Not A Birth-Defect!", and "You wanna cut off what!" are prominent during some events.[citation needed]

The National Organization of Circumcision Resource Information Centers (NOCIRC), the International Coalition for Genital Integrity, and Stop Infant Circumcision Society launched the First Genital Integrity Awareness Week in Washington, D.C. during the first week of April, Child Abuse Prevention Month. The 12th Annual Demonstration/March Against Infant Circumcision is during March 29 - April 3, 2005.[citation needed] From 2004 to 2007, the organization MGMbill.org sent a proposed bill to the US Congress and 15 state legislatures to extend the prohibition on genital modification and mutilation of minors to include male and intersex children.[9] The proposed bill has not been endorsed by any member of Congress. [10]

The Bay Area iNtactivists Group (BANG) in the San Francisco region takes part in baby fairs, the Solano Stroll, Gay Pride marches and other events. An interview broadcast on Outlook TV in April 2006 emphasises genital integrity for boy, girl and intersexed babies.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Genital Integrity organisations

[edit] Criticism of Genital Integrity / anti-circumcision organisations

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