G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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Commenter Trouble points me to Andrew Sullivan who has linked to my piece from Good Men Project on neonatal male circumcision.
Sullivan agrees with the anti-circ position and the one espoused by the academic in my piece – that it is silly to cite conditions germane to heterosexuals in Africa as support for domestic policies on circumcision. Scientist Jesse Bering, who is gay, supports the pro-circumcision position saying that even a marginal reduction in the likelihood of contracting HIV is worth the brief, painless procedure even if it does hinder male sexual pleasure. Sullivan responds:
It’s rare to read a gay man who still echoes the HIV-phobia of the 1980s – but Bering’s irrational panic is pretty glaring. And the notion that in order to prevent infection via a body part, you just remove that body part after birth is equally bizarre. Can you imagine post-birth removal of tonsils? Or forcible prophylactic mastectomies to prevent breast cancer? This whole thing is madness. Mutilation of any part of an infant’s body should only be for vital immediate health dangers, not nebulous future threats, which the person could choose for himself later, if he so wanted.
It is indeed strange that someone who has fought for certain freedoms such as the right to marry a person of the same sex would be so flippant when it comes to choosing whether or not to have foreskin removed without consent. The right to be safe from bodily harm from another person should trump the right to engage in a socially constructed relationship such as marriage. Given their civilly libertarian premise, Sullivan’s argument is the more logical one.