Some people protest against systematic racism and inequality. Others against mistreating animals. Some take up at the picket line anytime a war strikes up.
And then there are people whose dearest issue revolves around a little bit of penis skin. Yes, anti-circumcision activists have picked a Florida case as their latest battleground, and, well, it makes for some bizarre protest signs, to say the least.
The case in question has been going on for nearly four years after Heather Hironimus and Dennis Nebus had a months-long relationship that resulted in the birth of their son Chase, but split before the boy was born. The pair have dueled in a string of court battles that have included everything from custody to who the boy is allowed to call "mommy" and "daddy."
Though, for a while it seemed both Hironimus and Nebus could agree on something: they wanted to circumcise their son. However, Hironimus researched the procedure a little more and decided she didn't want her son to go through the procedure.
Though because both parents had previously agreed to the procedure in a court document, Nebus, of Boca Raton, sued and won decisions in circuit court and the Fourth District Court of Appeal. The AP reports seem to indicate that Hironimus, of Boynton Beach, is not going to pursuit the case anymore. Her lawyer is no longer on retainer.
Both parents, however, did enter an agreement that they would no longer talk about the case publicly and indicated they didn't want their son's situation to turn into a cause célèbre.
Yet, anti-circumcision protestors have taken hold of this very clearly personal family drama and have rallied around the four-year-old's penis in a quite exploitive, if not creepy way.
The Associated Press's Matt Sedensky recently chronicled one such anti-circumcision rally organized by 27-year-old Jonathan Friedman, who traveled all the way from Chicago for the passionate but loosely attended affair.
Signs held up include:
- "Let Chase Keep His Foreskin."
- "Don't Cut Chase's Penis."
- "Don't You Dare Circumcise Chase!"
- "Ethics 101: No Disease, No Consent, No Circumcision."
Friedman, who became an anti-circumcision advocate because he blames his own cut status for chaffing and painful erections, has even set up a website called SavingChase.org.
No one seem to realize, however, how creepily exploitive it is to hold up protest signs about the status of the genitals of a four-year-old boy they have never met, and whose parents have both decided, as the agreement seems to indicate, they would rather keep the case out of the limelight.
The protestors claim that circumcision can cause lasting trauma, and yet they seem to be so thick to not realize that making the boy's individual case their rallying cry could be potentially psychologically traumatic.
Lord only knows what it must be like to grow up knowing so many adults cared about your private areas, and we can only hope that any future mean-spirited classmates of the boy's never catch wind of the events.
Let's not forget the fact that these protestors are seizing on a private conflict between the boy's parents for their very public campaign, potentially causing more damage to an already fraught family situation.
For a group that says it cares so much about children, it certainly doesn't seem like they care about this particular boy's privacy or future psychological wellbeing.
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Circumcision is a hot button issue at the moment in some circles (include amongst "Men's Rights" advocates), yet the Centers for Disease Control has continued to recommend it, stating that it leads to lessened chances of sexually transmitted diseases, penile cancer and urinary tract infections later in life. Though, naturally, anti-circumcision advocates doubt these claims. Perhaps a campaign of continued information and questioning the ethics of the procedure may be a more ethically way to do so than seizing on this one case.
One fact that they also seem to miss: the vast majority of men, whether cut or uncut, grow up not particularly caring about the status of their foreskin.