If the San Diego–based advocacy group MGMbill.org has its way, locker rooms of the future will be a very different place. The group, founded in 2003, is dedicated to preventing the circumcision of newborns. (MGM is the acronym for male genital mutilation.) Last week, the group’s regional directors contacted some 2800 legislators in search of a sponsor for its bill, which would extend the 1996 prohibition on female genital cutting to males. The bill would make it illegal—punishable by up to 14 years in prison—for anyone to circumcise or assist in the removal of male genitalia (except when deemed medically necessary for the health of a child) of anyone under 18 years old. . . Intactivists, who prefer the term “male genital mutilation,” believe the removal of the foreskin is a straightforward human rights issue: we don’t allow parents to choose neglect or abuse, and thus we shouldn’t allow parents to choose circumcision.
The origins of mainstream circumcision practices in the US lie in the activities of Puritanical religious extremists. Today, people keep cutting off body parts of newborns without even stopping to consider why they are doing it and how it might make these individuals feel when they grow up.
In one of my favorite shows Queer As Folk, the main character named Brian passionately opposes the attempt to circumcise his newborn son. It's difficult to imagine a better way of putting it:
Lindsay: Can we please stop this?! (everyone falls silent) (to Brian) Why does it matter to you if Gus is circumcised?
Brian: It matters that he's been in this world less than a week and already there are people who won't accept him for the way he is. Who would even mutilate him rather than let him be the way he is. The way he was born. Well, I'm not going to let that happen.