Since having my own son (and daughter, lets not forget about Eewie...they both did enter our family the same day), and having to listen to those babies in the NICU screaming...since making a choice to let him choose for himself, my world has opened up. I've learned that people can, and DO speak up when they see parents making uninformed decisions about their child's bodies. I have learned that it's really a lot more than just a handful of concerned nurses who are speaking out. It's regular people. Like me. Like you. And a lot of them were probably people who were also raised believing that it was just something you do. Or that father and son need matching penises. Or they believed that cutting a part of their son's genitals off would somehow give it super powers and protect their son from STDs (including HIV). It's amazing how a little education can change things so drastically.
During the last week I've had to see (and be part of) some very upsetting things go down in the name of "intactivism". I've seen a beautiful and strong genital autonomy activist deal with crap I wouldn't wish on anyone, just because she extended her hand to help a family who posted openly on a social networking site about their son's upcoming circumcision. They claimed he had phimosis, yet was still only a very young child (I believe they said he was 2 1/2, so it's not phimosis, it's NORMAL fusion.) The people she tried to help went on to attack her, and steal her profile picture... It was a mess. All because she was trying to do a good thing and save both them, and that little boy, the pain of an unnecessary surgery.
I have personally had to deal with some high school drama because I refused to turn my head and ignore racist, bigoted, ignorant comments from a fellow "intactivist". The day I allow things like that to go on without standing up and calling them on it, is the day I'm under the dirt. And so, because I stood up for what was right, it made me a little bit unpopular with some of the "in" crowd.
The truth is that I firmly believe that I would rather fight for what's right ALONE, than to fight in a group surrounded by people, and always have to look over my shoulder to make sure none of them are wielding a knife aimed at my back.
No less than 3 days before that bullshit, a woman who I've had on my friends list for close to a year (we met in my twins group on Facebook), had both of her twin boys circumcised. Even though I sent her a shitload of information. Even though more than once she thanked me for the info and told me that she was glad that someone was speaking up and telling her that it didn't NEED to be done...no one had ever approached her about it before, and she thought it was "just something people did." I had a lot of hope in her...a lot of faith that she would read these articles, look at all of the information, and protect her sons. Instead she posted photos of herself with a huge clown-sized smile, from the hospital...as her sons were being prepped for surgery. (They went from having "phimosis", to "chordee", to "hypospadias".) I have a feeling what they actually had was a mother who didn't want to explain to her 4 other sons why the twins were left intact and they weren't, and a Dr. who was willing to say whatever he had to say to get the foreskin off of those boys.
As it turned out, there were at least two other women who had been trying to save these boys from that woman. And as much as people don't want to say it, I don't know now if we ever had a chance of saving them. Even as a born-again Christian, she seems to think that her and that foreskin-hunter Dr. of hers know better than God. Please explain that one to me.
So this week my feelings of solidarity in my intactivism were kind of shaken. And even one of our very strongest, most influential mommas had enough and took a break. I just read her post yesterday, after starting this one, and you know, if nothing else, it made me feel just a little less alone.
When people get to the point in their lives that they feel that THEY are the most important "intactivist" out there, they need a reality check. And when those of us fighting the same battle decide to turn on each other, it weakens us all as a unit. We shouldn't have to worry that other people on our team are talking behind our backs, or scheming against us. But we do, because it's a very sad reality. What we need to be doing is supporting each other, holding each other up when things get tough, and celebrating with each other when thing are going well. I wish I saw more of that. Sometimes all we need is to know we're not alone. And I love when I see us work together as a unit, working towards something. It reminds me of when I first got into this. It reminds me of how it's supposed to be.
I'll never stay quiet when a baby is born to parents that think his foreskin is "just a little skin". I'll never worry more about my popularity than I do about human rights. I'll never apologize to an adult for looking out for the best interests of a child. And I'll never throw my hands up and walk away forever...though I WILL take a break when I need to, as often as I need to. Sometimes a few days being surrounded by the people in my life who I love, and who love me for exactly who I am, is just what I need...what my SOUL needs. Because even though the people I am supposed to be fighting WITH, sometimes forget we're all on the same team (or perhaps forget that we're all actually human beings behind our computer screens), and all have things going on in our real lives, and we don't need their crap too. And, for that reason, I won't add to the insanity. I have hit an emotional limit. If I want to be able to help people, I need to be strong myself. And as my son says, I need to "fill my gas tank". (Only I need mine filled with hugs and kisses, not freezies.)
I will stand up and fight for the HUMAN RIGHTS of others. I don't care if you're still inside of your mother, or laying on your death bed. I don't care if you live here, or half a world away. I don't care if you love someone who is the same sex as you are, or if you love a person of another gender. I don't care if your skin is light, dark, or somewhere in between. I don't care if you wear a cross or a hajib. I don't care if you pray to a god, or if you don't believe in a god at all. If your human rights are in question, I am your girl. I will stand up for you, fight with you, and speak out. Doing the right thing is never wrong.
So, this post is for all of the people out there, fighting for what's right. I know all too well that this isn't as easy as people might think. I know that there are times that it would be easier to be quiet, and worry only about our own lives. I know it might be easier to ignore what's going on around us, and pretend we don't know what's being done to these babies in our silence. And I do understand that there are always going to be people who say ignorant comments about other religious groups. But I can't ignore it, and won't apologize...I'm doing what's right, and if that makes me unpopular, SO BE IT. No one ever said this was going to be easy. To those in this with me, I want you to know that I was searching for a picture of a guardian angel, but could only find one with a female angel...and I know a good part of you are male. But I do see all of you that way. Watching over the ones that can't speak for themselves. And the majority of the time, I'm proud to be one of you.
"Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it." Rabindranath Tagore