Sunday, 15 September 2013

Blog-Resurrect: Circumcision & Its "Place" in Faceland?

I've been out of commission for a while until today when I debated whether or not to post this as an actual status on Facebook and have since decided it was a bit too long and I wanted to post how I felt on a more public forum because it's JUST how strongly I feel. First, know that I didn't know I would feel so strongly until I lived here in England and gave birth to a son. Had this been in America, I may have very well blindly followed "the norm" without a second thought. I'll forever be grateful for my circumstances that led me here.

It has been brought to my attention by a respected friend, whom I  have known a number of years, that some of my posts/re-posts regarding the issue of circumcision have been found by her to be offensive. I realise she, while well-meaning by sending me a private message, isn’t the only one and there are likely more who feel the same about what I post but they may not be as vocal. I have since responded to the person who PM'd me, but I have also let her know that I intended to make a blanket response as well. It is anyone’s right to voice that to me and while I apologise that they found offense in something I have posted, I will not apologise for posting it. So know this…

I'm not ‘publicly shaming’ anyone about the issue. I’m not running around posting names of people who have chosen to circumcise and saying they are awful people for the decision they have made. I believe people who make the choice to circumcise may do it because they truly believe it to be right from the myths that it is healthier, etc...but over 80% of the world is uncircumcised and America is one of the only nations remaining where it is still the norm. I don't think less of anyone for doing it, not one of my friends, but the reason I post the things I do is to bring awareness that it is not necessary as a routine procedure. Some of my fellow “intactivists” (as they are commonly known) may argue that it’s never medically necessary, but I will settle for “in most cases,” because I realise some use it as a “last resort” and I even know of people who have had to battle with this decision alone. What I post is no different than people posting pictures and links asking people to speak out against animal abuse or anything else they feel passionately about.  And if someone is finding a graphic picture (in my most recent post) to be “inappropriate” then perhaps you understand why I feel so vehemently about the procedure itself. We don’t do it to girls, so what is wrong with respecting our boys’ genital integrity?

I don’t post even HALF the links that come through my own news feed on the subject and have recently only posted two that I have found particularly compelling. One having to do with a threatened total amputation of a little boy due to the procedure and today, a link (about a hospital using circumcision as a means to run experiments on infant boys – TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE FULL STOP)  which was passed down to me by a friend who recently confided in me over her own struggle to know more as her eldest had been circumcised but she had a change of heart with her youngest now and wanted to know ways to help educate her husband and help him to see why she was so adamant to not have the procedure done again. In fact, in the post today I simply asked for people to take a look at the information and that if they felt compelled to do so, sign the petition and continue sharing. I do not make it my personal business to know whether your child/children or husbands are circumcised. I simply share the information I have for the benefit of others who may question the need for having it done and I have helped my friend to make this choice because of the information I have posted. She felt comfortable coming to me after hearing from others to simply just “do it”/”get it over with” without even questioning the true necessity. The fact remained, she WAS questioning it and it was leaving her mind and heart unsettled.

I hope that no one is so offended that they will chose to end their friendships with me over the issue, but I also respect that it is your choice, although it would sadden me. I know there are many who feel just as strongly about having the procedure done as I do about leaving the choice for my child for when he’s an adult to make and one has made it clear that she is happy to “agree to disagree” on the topic. Where my own family is concerned, I decided that my son’s penis was his and it should be his choice, just the same as I am now struggling with the decision of whether or not my daughter-to-be will have pierced ears before she is able to decide for herself. I just want my kids to know that I made the decision to 'not make the decision' for them.

At the end of the day, there are LOADS of things that I come across in my newsfeed that either irritate me or don't interest me whether it be about children at 5 still having a pacifier/dummy, political (love/loathe Obama) or even game requests. I still consider you friends…but I’ll admit I scroll right past your Candy Crush high score post or how many miles you just tracked on your Runkeeper app. Every now and again I’ll jump in to tell you how I think a Samsung Galaxy is far superior to anything iPhizzle-related but I don't think that ignoring your meme about 'my Lord and Saviour' rather than reposting means I'm disrespecting Jesus. I don’t judge those who have already made this decision for their son(s) but I also do not plan to stop posting on the issue when I find articles and links that I find are worth sharing. Yes, it’s sometimes a hard pill to swallow for some to think we have possibly done something other than protect our children, afterall, that's our main goal as loving parents, isn't it? But not everyone is given factual information and that’s all I’m trying to do. Few are given lists of possible complications (death from infection alone, no matter how rare, being one that I’m just not prepared to bargain with), let alone the BENEFITS of foreskin. We can only make accurate, informed decisions with all the proper facts and information.

If I am helping even just ONE parent to know the full truth before it’s too late to “take it back” then it’s worth it to me.