A group of foreskin-loving activists plans to rally outside the downtown offices of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. Saturday calling on the federal government to ban circumcisions on minors.
Glen Callender, founder of the first ever Foreskin Pride March, wants to see the Criminal Code amended to include foreskins in the list of specified sexual organs that can not be mutilated or removed before the age of 18.
The College’s official stance is that routine infant circumcision is a cosmetic, medically unnecessary procedure, with risks that outweigh the benefits.
“The bottom line here is that here in Canada we protect the genitalia of girls from any kind of unnecessary surgery until they’re 18 years old, and then they have the right to modify their vulva as they see fit,” he told Metro.
“If girls have that right, then boys and intersex kids should have the same right. The Charter guarantees equal protection under the law.”
Circumcision rates have been falling in Western countries for decades, according to the Royal Dutch Medical Association, which condemns the practice.
In the U.K., the number of circumcisions on newborns fell from 35 per cent in the 1930s to 3.8 per cent by 2000. In the U.S. the incidence fell from 85 per cent in 1965 to 56 per cent in 2006.
In Canada, the prevalence fell from 47 per cent in 1973 to 32 per cent in 2007.
Dr. Neil Pollock, one of Vancouver’s most prominent circumcision surgeons who has performed the procedure more than 30,000 times, did not return Metro’s call requesting comment Thursday, and when reached Friday said he was too busy to do a phone interview on such short notice.
The Foreskin Pride marchers will rally at 3 p.m. at the Vancouver Art Gallery after protesting at noon on Saturday at the College. An adults-only education session on foreskin at the Qmunity queer resource centre at Bute and Davie Streets starts at 7 p.m.
On Sunday, for the third year, Callender will host adults-only demonstrations at his “foreskin awareness booth” from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Sunset Beach Pride Festival.