Thinking Aloud about the Bay Area Intactivists

In the kaleidiscope of pro-intact, anti-circumcision activism, or intactivism, the opportunities to influence the debate, the community and the parents of the children we are trying to protect are varied and straightforward. However, there can be perils, too.

Whenever one of the many groups who plan and stage protests, actions and initiatives steps out on its own without consulting either its vested members or the wider community who may support it, it runs the risk of losing support and participation – not to mention credibility. Simply doing something (as opposed to nothing) doesn’t mean all that much unless it is thoughtful, considered and planned smartly. There are ways to do this efficiently. There are ways to make stuff happen sooner rather than later. But the planning and consultation phase to assess impact (internal and external) of any action cannot be skipped.

It is with these principles as a backdrop that I have withdrawn from the work of the Bay Area Intactivists. The group does not work smartly, but operates from a place of rage against the culture that condones circumcision, and anger at the community of opposition who, as they see it, is ineffectual and insufficiently, well, angry. Hence, they do things without consultation or considered preparation and planning.

It’s important to take the long view at certain stages. It is also important to seize the moment. But it is unquestionably important to have all the troops on board whenever the moment comes to carry out that long-planned, carefully orchestrated effort, like getting new laws on the books, or scrambling the membership to carry out a last minute protest, for instance, when a particularly loathsome opponent is in town on short notice.

To the leadership of the [San Francisco] Bay Area Intactivists, I say, also, pick your fights, guys. Don’t be reckless. Above all, don’t overlook your allies in your zealous effort to make a point.

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