Foreskin advocates plan to protest Bill Gates for funding circumcision programs in Africa when the Microsoft founder speaks at the Ted Talks conference in Vancouver on Tuesday.
The Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project hopes to label Gates as “foreskin enemy #1” for donating millions to circumcision programs in 14 countries to reduce the risk of HIV transmission, according to an event posting on Facebook.
Project founder Glen Callender calls into question the research that claims male circumcision reduces transmission of the virus. (There is “compelling evidence” it reduces heterosexual infections in men by about 60 per cent, according to the World Health Organization.)
“Soon it will be obvious that circumcision gave these men false confidence, not effective protection,” Callender said in the event posting. “Bill Gates is an intelligent man who certainly means well, but he really blew it this time.”
This isn’t Callender’s first time protesting the rich and famous over foreskin. He made headlines across North America last year when he protested Oprah for promoting face cream with ingredients derived from foreskin. (That particular product, SkinMedica, was derived from growth factors from a single donation of foreskin more than a decade ago.)
“If my foreskin and I don’t publicly challenge at least one world-famous pro-circumcision billionaire philanthropist each year, then we’re not doing our job as Canada’s premier man-foreskin circumcision-fighting team,” Callender said.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donates millions annually to help the 33 million people around the world living with HIV. They fund research on an HIV vaccine, the delivery of anti-retroviral treatment and the development of ways to reduce transmission, including contraception and circumcision.
The protesters will gather around the Vancouver Convention Centre before Bill and Melinda Gates take the stage at 6 p.m.