Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: East Coast, USA
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I was there on Saturday and Sunday. I really love talking to people face to face. This is my 4th year of going on the weekend. I wish I could attend during the week too but I have little kids and no sitter.
David Wilson is the founder of Stop Infant Circumcision Society. He has done this march for 17 years and before he leaves, he has the all the permits filed for the march for the upcoming year. It's a "demonstration" of sorts but it's really an educational opportunity and talking live, face to face with people is really neat. We're on the lawn and people mill about right with us so they are able to get close and we can have face to face conversations. Heck, I even hugged one man who was a supporter of our efforts - more on that later. I particularily love the young people. They come up, often in small groups, reading the signs. David hooks them in by asking in a friendly tone "Where you from?" and they tell him. Then he asks "Do you know why this got started in America?" They don't. He says "To stop masurbation" to which they laugh out loud and often comment "It didn't work". Then David proceeds to explain how the foreskin functions and how if you are circumcised, you often have to use lotion. He goes on to say that it doesn't only effect you, it effects your lady partner because the glans of the penis draws out her natural lubrication and causes dryness and chaffing. This is the point where I join in and nodd and back him up. Once he's gotten past the part of the conversation I cannot give any credible conversation to (I mean, as a woman, I can't really talk about the male masturbation experience) I try to take it what ever direction it's going to go. You often get teens asking "isn't it cleaner?" "What about HIV?" and then we go into those issues. Often, the general public doesn't think it should be illegal. Then we ask them what they think of female genital mutilation. They are predictibly horrified by that. Then we ask them if they believe in the US Constitution, to which they say "Yes". Then we tell them they can't have it both ways because 14 years ago, our Federal government passed a Federal law banning any cutting on the genitals of a minor female child and the Constitution also states that we have qual protection. That gets people thinking.
Here's a story of a specific conversation:
4 teens walk up. Three look cocky and arrogant and one is hanging back a little. David hooks them in with the history of circ talk. They contend that their penis's provide them plenty of pleasure and that they are just fine. They are rather punkish and David basically tells them that they have all right to deny the facts and moves on. It was obvious to me that these guys didn't want to "get it"....but something made me jump up and take them on. One of the boys was saying that he thought a parent had the right to circ because they are given the responsibility to raise the kid and that he trusted his parents to make good choices for him. To this, I explained that his parents probably did make what they thought was the best choice but that the medical community misled them. He wasn't really buying it. I asked him if his parents had the right to tattoo him. He said no. I said "so how do they have the right to circ you? No medical organization in the world recommends it. Individual doctors recommend it but no medical organization" I talked to them about bodily integrity and I was going over their heads. One of the guys had his ear pierced. I askde him if he got his parents permission to pierce his ear. He said "no, and they didn't like it". And I said, "but you wanted to do it?" and he said "Yes". I asked "How did it feel to make that decision about your body?" and I saw the light click in his eyes. I then told him that I thought the very personal decision of how his penis should look belonged to him too. I said to him, I've got a husband and three small kids. I have a lot of things to do besides stand out here on a cold March day educating people but I do it because I deeply believe that people just like you have the right to their own body. I told them that I guessed that they were many years away from fatherhood but that this decision will come to them some day if they are ever daddys to sons. And four cocky ornery teens left as thinking young men with a much different demeanor. I was glad I didn't just let them go without the effort.
"To err is human, to forgive, canine." - Unknown