Standing outside Centura Health Primary Care in Thornton, Colorado, on April 6, two men dressed in all-white garb — except for a significant, blood-red mark on the crotch of their pants — faced traffic and held a large sign saying, “CIRCUMCISION PENIS MUTILATION.” The protesters were part of a group called the Bloodstained Men, who were out in force demonstrating against a video that Dr. Corinn Gayer, a primary-care physician at the Thornton clinic, had posted online, in which she discusses circumcision and her preferred method for performing the procedure.
The debate over circumcision has been ongoing for centuries, and it has never failed to spark controversy. Some believe it’s a necessary procedure, while others see it as a violation of human rights. Whatever your stance may be, it’s clear that the issue remains a heated topic worldwide.
In the United States, circumcision rates have declined for decades, but it’s still a common practice. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 58% of newborn boys in the US are circumcised. However, this number varies widely by region and demographic, with some states reporting rates as high as 80% and others as low as 20%.
These variations have fueled the intactivist movement, with many arguing that circumcision is a cultural rather than a medical practice. They believe it’s a way for parents to impose their beliefs on their children and that the decision to undergo the procedure should be left up to the child when he’s old enough to make it for himself.
The Bloodstained Men, a group of intactivists founded in 2012, has led the charge against circumcision. They dress in white, with a large red stain on the crotch of their pants, to represent the blood lost during circumcision. They protest outside hospitals, clinics, and other locations where the procedure is performed, holding signs that read “CIRCUMCISION PENIS MUTILATION” and similar phrases.
Their message is simple: Circumcision is a violation of human rights, and it should be abolished. They argue that the procedure is unnecessary and dangerous, citing studies suggesting it can lead to long-term physical and psychological trauma.
The Bloodstained Men is part of a more significant movement called Intact America, which seeks to end circumcision in the United States and worldwide. The group has been active for over a decade, protesting and lobbying lawmakers to pass legislation banning the practice.
It’s an uphill battle, but the intactivists remain undeterred in their mission to protect children from what they believe is an unnecessary and cruel procedure. In recent years, their efforts have gained more attention, with celebrities like George Clooney and Ashton Kutcher speaking out against circumcision.
Despite the pushback from those who defend the practice, the intactivist movement shows no signs of slowing down. With more and more parents questioning the necessity of circumcision, we may see a significant decline in the procedure in the years to come. But until then, the Bloodstained Men and other intactivists will continue to fight for what they believe is a fundamental human right – the right to bodily autonomy.
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