Comedian Lawrence Mooney thinks circumcision is no laughing matter

MooneyCrop1Australian comedian Lawrence Mooney makes people laugh for a living but his performance at the 2016 Melbourne International Comedy Festival showed that he is clearly not in the slightest bit amused by the fact that he was routinely circumcised as an infant.

Mooney assured his audience that he had done his research on the issue and he didn’t disappoint. In a wide-ranging rant, Mooney mocked the Abrahamic covenant with god which calls for all males to be circumcised, showed utter disdain for the notion of circumcision as a 20th century fashion statement and lamented about the impact that having a foreskin-free penis has on his sex life.

Mooney began his sketch by revealing that ‘When I was but a few hours old, my parents gave me to a complete stranger. And he took me into a room and hacked the top of my cock off. Let’s just sit with the loneliness and brutality for a moment shall we?‘ He concluded by saying ‘My knob has been rubbing against my undies for 50 years, and it is dead to the touch. Alright? It is. No seriously, you could hit it with a hammer and I wouldn’t bat an eyelid. I could bang you for two hours…and nothing.

Mooney’s performance was powerful but predictably awkward. Those assembled laughed sheepishly at times but appeared somewhat embarrassed about having such a sensitive issue unexpectedly foisted upon them.

It was a brave and commendable effort by Mooney. He somehow managed to seamlessly weave serious social commentary with disarming humour, which is always the hallmark of a quality entertainer.

Watch Lawrence Mooney’s anti-circumcision tirade below.

Did Bendigo councillor Elise Chapman get gender wrong in ‘female genital mutilation’ photo tweet?

GenitalCuttingMaleFemale

On 22 February this year Bendigo councillor Elise Chapman tweeted a photo in what has been largely interpreted as an attempt to highlight the issue of female genital mutilation, and to make a tenuous link between the practice and the proposed development of a mosque in her area.

The Councillor has been a vocal objector the mosque since a proposal for it’s development was approved by Bendigo City Council last June.

The tweet, which can be seen below, was in response to a tweet to her from a supporter of the proposal to build the mosque.

Male Genital Mutilation

If by tweeting this photo Councillor Chapman was attempting to highlight a disturbing cultural tradition, then we agree. These customs and traditions have no place in any modern society. Although as far as we are aware, there is no evidence to suggest that anyone involved with the proposed mosque practices or supports female genital mutilation.

What the media who have covered the story so far and Councillor Chapman may not realise though is that the children in the photo are actually male.

Articles at news.com.au and the Age and the Herald Sun have interpreted her intentions to be highlighting female genital mutilation, although ABC News seems to be a little less sure, with this article which is careful not to assume what the gender of the children may be.

A copy of the original, unpixelated photo can be found here (warning: disturbing content), which clearly shows that this is the aftermath of male infant genital mutilation.

“Oh, we could have this here too?” she tweets. Yes, we already have this here. It is commonly called circumcision, and is performed on over 12,000 baby boys in Australia every year. It is even subsidised by our Government through the Medicare system, and is completely unregulated. Anyone can be a circumciser and a male child can be circumcised for any reason, with any implement at any location.

We wonder if Councillor Chapman is aware of her apparent mistake, wonder what her position is on male circumcision.

Perhaps, like us, she makes no distinction between gender in her objection to genital mutilation. Although if this was the case, she could not justifiably use the picture to object to the development of the mosque given that male circumcision is pervasive throughout both muslim and mainstream Australian cultures.

New intactivist website launched in Australia

IntactAus1We would like to congratulate our friends at ‘Intact Australia’, who launched their brand new website on August 1st 2014. ‘Intact Australia’ is a grass-roots organisation which has similar goals to those of us here at ‘Intactivists of Australasia’. Their mission statement quite rightly points out that ‘all human beings, regardless of age, sex, gender, ethnicity, size, background, family, or ability to defend themselves, come into this world with the basic human right to genital autonomy’. The ‘Intact Australia’ website is full of great information and resources including ‘intact care’, ‘functions of the foreskin’ and a ‘history of circumcision in Australia’. ‘Intact Australia’ are also seeking to create a list of ‘intact-friendly’ doctors across the country. We wish them all the best for their new venture and thank them so much for the work that they are doing to raise awareness about this important human rights issue. Click here to visit the ‘Intact Australia’ website.

New petition demands government action on male circumcision

Intact2Intactivists of Australasia have launched a new petition on change.org which calls for Australian governments (at all levels) to take action to prevent the non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors. Click here to sign the petition and show your support for this important human rights cause. If we reach our target of 100 signatures, the petition will be forwarded to all Federal, State and Territory health ministers. The timing of this petition is important, since the Federal Government is currently undertaking a review of the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

The Intactivists of Australasia petition reads as follows:

It is important that Australian Federal and State Departments of Health support the human rights of all people, regardless of their age or sex. Infant Male Genital Cutting (IMGC or “circumcision”) raises human rights issues. Many men hate that it was done to them before they could resist. Its medical benefits are highly debatable – slight reductions in rare and/or late onset diseases that can be better prevented by other means and/or treated as they occur. In the 1950s, IMGC was nearly universal in Australia and is now done to fewer than one boy in 8. Over the generation that this has happened, men’s health has improved and none of the ailments for which it was supposed to be effective have shown any significant increase.

No national medical association in the world (including the American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends IMGC, but the AAP’s position was so ambivalent and culturally biased, 38 paediatricians (heads and spokespeople for the paediatric associations of Austria, Britain, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands, and senior paediatricians in Canada, the Czech Republic, France and Poland) were prompted to write a rebuttal to the AAP journal “Pediatrics” (1) which concluded that:

“There is growing consensus among physicians, including those in the United States, that physicians should discourage parents from circumcising their healthy infant boys because non-therapeutic circumcision of underage boys in Western societies has no compelling health benefits, causes postoperative pain, can have serious long-term consequences, constitutes a violation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child, and conflicts with the Hippocratic oath: primum non nocere: First, do no harm”.

Resources:

1. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/…/12/peds.2012-2896

2. http://www.circinfo.org/Medicare_circumcision_review.html

Recommendations:

1. Withdraw any support for non-therapeutic infant genital surgery (including circumcisions done for “cultural reasons”) from all medical facilities in the Federal and State Departments of Health’s charge.

2. Ensure that the non-therapeutic circumcision of minors is not included in Medicare rebates.

3. Ensure that medical students in all teaching hospitals and medical schools are appraised on the structure and functions of the foreskin, and on proper care of normal boys, especially the avoidance of premature forcible foreskin retraction and unnecessary circumcision.

How to tell if you live in a culture of genital cutting

Are you perpetuating the genital cutting culture in Australia?

Take the test by answering the following questions.

Do you believe that girls should be able to decide for themselves if they want to have parts of their genitals cut?

Do you also believe that boys should be able to decide for themselves if they want to have parts of their genitals cut?

If you answered yes to the first question but no to the second, perhaps you are considering the issue with a gender bias.

Let’s try another set of questions:

Do you think that religious sensitivities should be respected when determining if Muslim parents should have the right to cut the genitals of their baby girls?

And do you also think that religious sensitivities should be respected when determining if Jewish parents should have the right to cut the genitals of their baby boys?

If you answered no to the first question but yes to the second, then perhaps you are looking at this issue with a religious bias.

And if after answering both sets of questions you have both a gender and religous bias towards genital cutting, then perhaps we do have a genital cutting culture in Australia.

stopthecutting

I have received an overwhelmingly positive response to my first real attempt to explain to my family and friends and the world my very negative feelings about the fact that as a newborn, I was subjected to male genital mutilation (MGM).

Oddly enough, the most push back I’ve received has been from my own family. Maybe this is the first time that they’ve come to grips with the fact that their sons may grow up to feel that they were violated by MGM.

I sure hope that no one grows up to feel like they were violated, but I am not the first to feel this way about the fact that I was subjected to MGM, and until the practice is stopped, I will not be the last.

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German court rules religious circumcision illegal

After generations of reluctance to confront a ‘sensitive religious issue’ – seemingly content to allow boys to be sexually mutilated – the legal system of one of the world’s largest secular democracy’s has taken decisive action. The regional court in Cologne this week found the practice of circumcising children before they could decide for themselves amounted to grievous bodily harm, with the finding expected to set a legal precedent.

This is great news for future generations of males in Germany, who now seem destined to enjoy legal protection from forced genital cutting practices, along with a number of other jurisdictions around the world, who are also moving towards banning circumcision.

The finding comes at a significant time, with the Australian government having recently announced a review into Medicare funding of circumcision. As the world’s only national government to fund non-therapeutic circumcision surgery for male minors, perhaps this will be the wake-up call the Australian government needs. The only appropriate course of action at this time is for the upcoming ‘review ‘ to be transferred from the Health Department to the Attorney General’s Department.

Read more here.