With Pride Week under way, a Vancouver group opposed to male circumcision is planning to raise awareness about the issue of surgically modifying children's genitals.
The first-annual Foreskin Pride March takes place this weekend with related activities at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Sunset Beach, and elsewhere in the city.
Organized by the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project, the events include protests, educational demonstrations, and participation in the Vancouver Pride Parade.
Glen Callender, founder of the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project, said progress is being made on the issue of child circumcision.
“Circumcision rates in Canada have dropped considerably,” he told the Straight by phone. “This is because, increasingly, Canadian parents know that circumcision of healthy babies is unnecessary, it’s harmful, and it’s unethical.”
Callender said girls are protected from unwanted genital surgery or modification under the Criminal Code, but boys and intersex children are not.
“Some people do call the genital autonomy movement or anti-infant circumcision movement radical, but we’re not,” he said. “We’re just asking for exactly the same rights girls have to be applied to boys and intersex kids as well.”
Events planned for the Foreskin Pride March start on Saturday (August 4) at noon with protests outside a private clinic on West Broadway that provides circumcisions and at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. location in downtown Vancouver.
Also on Saturday, a rally is planned at the Vancouver Art Gallery at 3 p.m. and an adults-only education session on foreskin is planned at Qmunity queer resource centre at Bute Street and Davie Street at 7 p.m.
On Sunday (August 5) at 11 a.m., an adults-only “live foreskin demonstration” booth is to be set up at Sunset Beach Pride Festival. At noon on Sunday, a marching contingent is to take part in the Vancouver Pride Parade.
“This is an attempt on our part to start a new movement within the Pride movement, much like the dyke marches and the trans marches and other fixtures that you see routinely at Pride,” Callender said.
“We are hoping that as consciousness of the issue of genital autonomy and the rights of children become more mainstream that this will grow and grow and grow.”