gay blog, gay news, ban, san francisco, lloyd schofield

Snip ‘Em If You Got ‘Em – Vote To Ban Circumcision In San Francisco

gay blog, gay news, ban, san francisco, lloyd schofield
The rhythm is gonna get you.

We introduced you to Lloyd Schofield in February. He’s the California “intactivist” that has spent much of 2011 gathering signatures to introduce a vote on banning the practice of circumcision in San Francisco’s city limits. Well doggone it, he’s reached his goal.

Schofield and his supporters have submitted 12,000 signatures, more than enough to warrant a ballot initiative this November. San Francisco residents will have the opportunity to vote on the controversial practice later this year. Schofield compares removing foreskin from infant boys to the internationally denounced practice of female genital mutilation, and we kind of agree that he has a point.

NY Daily News reports:

Chief opponent Lloyd Schofield, 59, acknowledged circumcision is a ritual among Jews and a common practice among Muslims, but insisted it should be outlawed.

“It’s excruciatingly painful and permanently damaging surgery that’s forced on men when they’re at their weakest and most vulnerable,” he said.

San Francisco officials say Schofield’s group submitted about 12,000 signatures supporting his proposed ban, which is more than enough to get it on the ballot in November.

The measure, which would only apply in San Francisco, would make it a crime to circumcise a boy before he is 18 years of age, regardless of the parents’ religious beliefs.

Legal and medical experts disagree on the outcome of a vote. Lawyers suggest that such a ban would be unconstitutional as it prohibits a religious ritual. Some medical experts disagree, claiming that there is no evidence to suggest that removing skin from an infant’s penis is either beneficial or necessary. Either way, the ban would need to be passed by a popular vote, which is highly unlikely.

What do you think? Should men have a say in whether or not they are circumcised? Or is it OK to perform the procedure on non-consenting infants?

  • Of course it should be banned. It’s mutilation on a child.

  • Anonymous

    Elective cosmetic surgery should only be for adults over the age of 18. You wouldn’t give your newborn a nose job would you? Or butt implants?

  • good job you guys! I wish i had had a say in whether or not I have a foreskin. My parents arent even Jewish and they had it done to me. It really annoys me that before I could even form a conscious thought, let alone make decisions about altering my body, people whom it doesn’t even effect were making that decision for me. As far as the constitution and religion go, there is no guarantee that one’s children will end up believing the same as their parents. I support the freedom to believe whatever the hell people want to believe, but that includes their children. It isn’t unconstitutional if anything it should be unconstitutional to allow this practice for religious purposes because it is effectively allowing adults to impose their religious beliefs on their children. I think that Children should have the right to choose their own religion (or lack there of) and thereby be protected under the constitution as well. Certainly it is a parent’s right, and duty to raise their children to be the best people they can be, and this often involves religious teaching, but until Children are old enough to make decisions for them selves, I don’t think that circumcision should be an option… then again The same goes for ear piercing. Granted that reversible and much less harmful, It should still be a childs choice, just perhaps with (dare i say it?) age of consent.

  • Just wait until they’re old enough to consent to it! No point in banning the practice entirely, just on infants! >:/

  • Sebaba

    Waiting until the child is old enough is MORE of a health risk than performing it on an infant. Do you people do your research before making such ridiculous claims? (not necessarily geared toward the article itself more than comments, etc…)

    Yes, you are correct. An infant cannot “consent” to such a procedure. However, that doesn’t mean it’s your decision to make for me or my potential future descendants. If it doesn’t affect you — you shouldn’t be able to vote on it. Like abortion — if you don’t like it, don’t have one. If you don’t like circumcision, then don’t elect to perform one on you or one of your descendants.

    Enough said.

  • Munkstah LovesHalei ForAlways

    I plan on having a son one day if gay marriage is ever made legal in my state, and I would opt to have the circumcision done, but that’s just my own personal choice for my future child. While yes I do understand why some feel it should be a right to decide if you want this or not, I feel that it should be done for many reasons. For example, HPV (human papilloma virus) lives under and on the foreskin and then can be transmitted during intercourse. It is also much easier to clean a circumcised penis, especially being that full retraction of the foreskin may not be possible until the boy is a few years old. It is also documented that urinary tract infections appear less often in circumcised newborns. This is because circumcision prevents the growth of bacteria under the foreskin. There is also a higher risk of certain sexual transmitted diseases in males that have not been circumcised such as gonorrhea, chancroid, syphilis, human papillomavirus, and herpes simplex virus type 2. This is because circumcision prevents the growth under the foreskin of the agents that cause sexually-transmitted diseases. Also you can develop cancer on your penis, which occurs almost exclusively in uncircumcised men. Some men also experience not only pain but tearing of the foreskin while having sex if they have not been circumcised. Of course as with any medical procedure there are pros and cons but I personally feel that the pros greatly out weigh the cons in this.

  • Shasta

    Um, the legal argument here is more or less the same one as abortion. politics don’t have a place in medical decisions for me or my family. you can argue there may be a percentage of circumcisions that are religious in nature, but the majority aren’t. at any rate, it’s between the person with responsibility for making the decision, and the medical provider doing the procedure. you can’t really make a distinction between this and other critical legal arguments on –ahem– OTHER things that particularly the left wants left out of the political decision making process.

  • Samantha Marie-Jean Gossett

    i am a mother and i chose to have my son circumcised. I believed that the benefits outweighed the risks. A circumcised man is less likely to get urinary tract infections, penile cancer prevented, and a retrospective study of boys aged 4 months to 12 years found uncircumcised boys exhibited significantly greater frequency of penile problems and medical visits for penile problems compared with those who were circumcised. I made this decision, as a mother, because i wanted my son to stay healthy.

  • Jim

    I don’t know if on outright BAN is the way to go. I think it should wait until the child is old enough to decide for himself. When I was born (seems like a hundred years ago now…), they didn’t even ask parents, they just handed them the consent form to sign. At least we’ve made that much progress. The health risks involved with NOT circumcizing an infant can be signifcantly lowered by teaching the child to properly clean the foreskin. Which, upon reflection, may be the entire reason we’re having this debate: Because Americans are so brainwashed by outdated, Puritannical views on sex and the human body, parents would rather perform body modification on their newborns than teach them about their bodies.

    BTW, I confronted my mother about having me circumcized at a family dinner a few years ago. It was very entertaining.

  • Bradley Dixon

    They should ban circumcision cause I love the skin….. You know how hard it is to find an uncut guy and they have to look attractive… 1-10 =(

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  • Jarrett L. Clark

    I’ve thanked my parents for having me circumsised. It’s much cleaner down there and looks more appealing in my personal opinion. The process is so much easier in terms of healing than when you’re an adult. What 18 year old would like to have his dick stitched up for a few weeks? Plus, most women in the dawn of their sexual discovery have never even seen or contemplated a penis with a hood on it. That is something that her guy, if he’s uncut, is going to have to brace her for and then probably not get lucky. This has been the experience recanted to me by a good few of my straight, uncircumsised friends.

    For those who liken the practice to a clitorectomy, you need to think on that a little more. A clitorectomy equivalent on a male would be cutting his penis off. That’s not what circumsision is.

    Bottom line. What my family does for medical or religious reasons is no one’s concern but my own. If and when I have a son, he’ll be circumsised and I’m sure he’ll thank me one day.

  • Anonymous

    Foreskin feels REALLY good.

    Taking someone’s healthy normal foreskin is taking a vital part of that person’s sexual experience. NOBODY has a moral right to do that.

    Circumcision is much less dangerous on grown people.

    Circumcision is NOT a medical procedure when there is no diagnosis of defect or disease, and no record of other less-destructive remedies tried before resorting to the drastic last-resort step of amputation.

    NOT ONE national medical association on earth endorses routine circumcision. The WHO’s 2007 policy on ADULT VOLUNTARY circumcision in places with RAMPANT HIV has no bearing on the US, and it ignores their own researchers’ later findings:

    Wawer/Gray 2009: Circumcising Ugandan men made them 50% MORE liekly to infect their partners with deadly HIV.

    Bailey 2010: Circumcised Kenyan men no less likely to have HIV after all.

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  • Anonymous

    I think that there is enough data out there to convince me that circumcision strengthens my future child’s chances of living a healthier life.

  • saying it’s for cleanliness is tantamount to saying your lazy. Ulcerations only happen to circed boys. Saying it’s for religious reasons is up there too with ridiculousness as female circ is illegal in this country as it is considered MUTILATION. But is a sacrifice by a person who is unknowing of the sacrifice really a sacrifice?

  • Anonymous

    I’m in eternal debt to my parents for refusing to have me circumcised, especially since my father himself had been and knew it was wrong. But I imagine if I were mutilated at birth, though, I would also be trying to come up with all kinds of excuses to make it seem ‘normal’.

    Not to mention, if you were intact I really doubt any women you meet would ever notice the difference, apart from the increased stimulation you would both experience during intercourse (it’s been speculated that the foreskin has at least as many nerve endings as the clitoris).

  • I think that it should be a decision one should make as an adult. There is nothing that proves that there should be health concerns for people with foreskin. If you teach your children to clean themselves properly they should have no problem.

  • I think we can all agree, at least, that this is a fairly hot-button issue.

    Personally, I was circumcised at birth, so I can’t say — from my own experience — whether sex is better with or without foreskin. I’ve heard that it’s better with — but I’ve also heard of cases where the foreskin is too tight, and trying to retract it can be extremely painful. (One of my exes had this condition.) I’ve seen the health data, and while it’s true that a lot of the health concerns can be offset by teaching a child to clean himself properly, are the uncircumcised boys expected to fully comprehend from an early age just how vital such cleaning is and keep up with it 100%? I’ve known boys (sons of friends) at young ages who had to be fought, tooth and nail, to bathe at all — if they’re likely to fight that much just to splash a little water and soap on and call it done, are they really going to take the extra couple minutes to roll back the foreskin and clean fully? I’m worried that it’d be a no.

    As for the religious argument, any time a religious edict is tantamount to mutilation — as with circumcision — it must be determined if it’s really in the best interests of the child. That’s already a mixed bag, as mentioned above.

    I honestly don’t think saying “we prohibit you from circumcising your child here” will be the answer. If the parents are concerned about the healthiness of their boy, or are acting on religious mores, they’re likely to skip town and get the circumcision done anyways. What’s the point of this, then? Sounds more like someone who’s mourning the loss of their own foreskin is trying to implant their desire onto a city.

    As I said, it’s ineffective to make a law refusing the ability over a single city. If you think it’s that big a deal, go to your senator and ask them to sponsor a bill on the federal level. Otherwise, realize that parents will do what they feel is best — skin or no skin ends up being their call, and changing the laws of one city won’t do much more than change the place where the inevitable occurs.

  • I think it’s a bit silly that it’s an issue at all. FGM is a practice that’s performed to desecrate the female body. Circumcision on a man keeps him cleaner, reduces the risk of getting frequent UTIs, and prevents the formation of smegma, which can actually render women infertile if introduced to their uterus. It’s cleaner, and, I do believe, the best way to go.

  • Adam Kuglin

    “However, that doesn’t mean it’s your decision to make for me or my potential future descendants. If it doesn’t affect you — you shouldn’t be able to vote on it. Like abortion — if you don’t like it, don’t have one. If you don’t like circumcision, then don’t elect to perform one on you or one of your descendants.”

    That decision doesn’t affect *you*, it affects your son. It’s not *your* rights in question… it is your son’s. I’d argue that it is not your decision as a parent to inflict permanent harm on your son’s penis in much the same way as it is not your decision as a parent whether or not to chop your son’s perfectly healthy arm off at the tender age of three days to prevent him from falling off his bike and breaking it when he’s eight years old. Unlike abortion, there’s no part of this decision that has an impact on anyone’s health or well-being besides your son.

  • Sebaba

    Actually, it DOES impact me. Had such a law been in place when I was born, my parents would not have been able to circumcise me. And, unlike apparently some, I’m quite happy with my circumcised penis, and matter-of-fact, uncircumcised penises gross me out… and I *LOVE* penis, so that’s saying a lot.

    The fact is this: YOU by some matter of political power and authority of state, are essentially stripping ME and MY FAMILY the right to choose whether or not a religious ritual — such as circumcision — can be performed. Knowing that you would be abolishing such an act of sacred importance, YOU are violating any miniscule separation of church and state that’s left in today’s society. Hence, the background for my comments.

    I agree, that chopping off a child’s arm is cruel and unusual punishment, one which I would not encourage. As a parent, I have the legal right to make decisions for my children up until they are the age of 18 (at least in this state… not sure if it’s different where you are). If you’re upset with the fact that you’re circumcised and immensely unhappy about it, maybe you should talk to your parents about it, and make your own decisions for your own children if and when you decide to reproduce. However, that does NOT give YOU the right to make decisions for MY children — which is my point. You making decisions for my children does affect me, because it’s not your decision to make, it is mine.

    Is a foreskin necessary and/or beneficial to one’s life? Not as much as an arm. Please do not confuse the topic at hand with your own diluted version of reality. Performing circumcision on anyone OTHER THAN an infant is a serious operation, one which may result in death (though I’m no medical expert, I believe I’ve read up on it before). I don’t think any infant has died from being circumcised, and I know of young men whom normally would have been circumcised (by religious rite) but who were not because of health hazards (bleeding disorder of some sort) that could have resulted in death at the time.

    Again, please do your research before speaking, and again, please keep your mouth shut on matters that you can make for yourself and your family, and that I can make for myself and mine. Thanks.

  • Seth J. Jones

    I’m glad I’m circumcised, so I’d vote no on this.

  • You don’t know shit about women, dude. As a young women, if you’ve never seen a penis before, uncut ones do look freaky. Luckily for my second boyfriend (the first uncut guy I dated), I was already fairly comfortable with sexual matters, so it didn’t take long for me to get used to how it looked ‘weird’.
    That said, while it’s true men get more pleasure with an intact foreskin, I haven’t noticed any difference as a woman.

  • lachyshrives777

    I can’t help but feel despair and disgust for all the people who say that “It is normal” or “more healthy”.
    Let me put it this way. 15-30% of the men in the world are estimated to be circumcised. Thats 70% of men that, according to most of you commentors, have unhealthy, un-normal penises. This is American exceptionalism at its best, you think that because it is normal in America it is acceptable and OK. When Americans travel overseas and talk to people in other countries – in Europe, for example, in most countries, less than 20% of men are circumcised. Rates of new circumcision for infants in Australia and New Zealand are below 20%. Circumcision is basically unknown in Asia. It is a uniquely historical and cultural phenomena that has, for whatever reason, remained acceptable in America while becoming less and less popular in the rest of the world.
    Some more food for thought:
    A 1999 study of 48 boys who had complications from traditional male circumcision in Nigeria found that haemmorage occurred in 52% of the boys, infection in 21% and one child had his penis amputated.
    The American Academy of Pediatrics (1999) stated “Circumcision has been suggested as an effective method of maintaining
    penile hygiene since the time of the Egyptian dynasties, but there is
    little evidence to affirm the association between circumcision status
    and optimal penile hygiene.”
    A 2002 review by Boyle et al. stated that “the genitally intact
    male has thousands of fine touch receptors and other highly erogenous
    nerve endings—many of which are lost to circumcision, with an inevitable
    reduction in sexual sensation experienced by circumcised males.” They
    concluded, “intercourse is less satisfying for both partners when the
    man is circumcised”
    etc etc etc. Look at Wikipedia, they have many, many sources from medical associations around the world saying that routine circumcision is completely unnecessary. Studies are very ambivalent about potential benefits.
    In my opinion circumcision is exactly the same as female genital mutilation, a cultural artefact which has no place in our day and age. Sure, you can still have “fun” down there, but why would you want to chop off your nerve endings? The more the merrier.

  • By that logic, all women past child-bearing age should undergo elective mastectomy to prevent the possibility of breast cancer later in life.  Even that is more reasonable than child circumcision because it is a personal choice that each woman could make at an adult age.  I think that the information you shared regarding boys aged 4months to 12 years is more likely to be the result of a social problem than a physiological one.  People with less money are less likely to have the resources to have their child circumcised.  Said income discrepancy is also likely to result in lower availability of quality health care, hence more trouble with any medical problems which arise including those of penile nature. If you want your child to be healthy, teach him how to take care of himself and inform him about the benefits of circumcision so that he can make a choice at an appropriate age, rather than lopping off the problem as it were so that you don’t have to deal with it. (I’m sorry if this response sounds rude, it isn’t a personal attack against you, I’m just annoyed that my parents had me circumcised and I didn’t get to make the choice regarding MY body.)  and though I love my parents very much, I do resent what I consider to be their lazy parenting choice.

  • It’s a religious ceremony of mutilation performed on those who are too young to think for them-selves.  What if your son grows up and decides, gee, I really disagree with this religion in which I was raised.  If that turns out to be the case, don’t you think his bodily mutilation would only make him more resentful of said religion.  

    As for your argument about the state and political powers striping you and your family of performing a religious ritual, the fact of the matter is that YOU have no right to impose your religious beliefs onto a body which isn’t yours.  I don’t care if you brought said body into the world, or are responsible for this young person’s care and well-being.  Irreversible body modification is a choice that only the individual whose body is being changed should be allowed to make.  It is a matter of ethics.  I’m sorry that your religion teaches you that all foreskins must be removed and that your hypothetical son’s foreskin in the future may cause you emotional religious distress, but when he is old enough to make the decision for himself, If you have raised him with love and instilled in him the same beliefs that you harbor, he will probably opt to have the operation done in which case, yes it is less traumatic to have had it done as a baby.  If only there were a way to know what someone would chose when they are old enough it would be wonderful, but the fact of the matter is that it is an operation that cannot be undone and thus should only be performed on those old enough to know what they want for themselves.  In fact, enacting this law further separates church and state because it stops one individual’s religious beliefs from being imposed on the body of another.  My parents had me circumcised when I was an infant and I have always resented it.  Had I been able to make the choice my self, I would be grateful to my parents for leting ME choose how MY body is going to be.  Even if I had decided for some religious reason to have the operation done, I would still think that it is each individual’s choice for their own body, not a choice parents should make, not knowing if their children actually want it done or not.

    again regarding religious rights of passage, do you think that Muslim Families should be allowed to have clitorectomys performed on their daughters?  This is also a religious ceremony that is sacred to certain portions of the population, but it is not permitted because it is a clear violation of human rights.  The reason that religious circumcision has been allowed to go on for so long is because it isn’t AS much of a violation of an individual’s rights to choose for them-self because it doesn’t prevent orgasm and it’s not AS dangerous.  The fact of the matter is however, that you are still cutting the body of someone who presumably is not in need of any kind of medical treatment, without their consent, diminishing their future potential sexual pleasure and imposing your beliefs onto their body.  YOUR SON’S BODY IS NOT YOURS!  It is his, and by mutilating it without his consent is a violation of ethics.

  • Regardless of whether you like being circumcised or not, It is silly to assume that anybody who is circumcised likes it.  Indeed the reason for all the argument is most likely because many people who were circumcised as babies would have chosen otherwise and what they are asking the law to do is to allow people to make their own decisions once they are at an age where they are capable of doing so.  sure it hurts less as an infant, but not everybody is going to feel the same way  you do.  I resent that my parents had me circumcised.  I would not have chosen this, and it isn’t fair that I didnt get to make the choice about MY own body.

  • FGM is wrong so is MGM.  Parents need to get off their duffs and teach their children how to clean themselves and then make a choice at an appropriate age.  

  • As far as raising a healthy child goes, there’s the easy way, then there’s the right way.  having a foreskin means more work, both for the parent and for the individual with one,  and if that individual grows up and decides, “well you know, I don’t like all this tedious cleaning work regarding my foreskin and I want to have it chopped off”, that is that person’s right to have it done.  As a parent though, I just think its lazy to make a decision permanently reducing your son’s sexual experience because you don’t want to have to clean it and/or teach him to.  Foreskins are not unhealthy if they are maintained properly.  the data regarding circumcised individuals being healthier is a result of people not educating their children on bodily hygiene, not a result of the inherent danger of foreskins.

  • It’s a religious ceremony of mutilation performed on those who are too young to think for them-selves.  What if your son grows up and decides, gee, I really disagree with this religion in which I was raised.  If that turns out to be the case, don’t you think his bodily mutilation would only make him more resentful of said religion.  As for your argument about the state and political powers striping you and your family of performing a religious ritual, the fact of the matter is that YOU have no right to impose your religious beliefs onto a body which isn’t yours.  I don’t care if you brought said body into the world, or are responsible for this young person’s care and well-being.  Irreversible body modification is a choice that only the individual whose body is being changed should be allowed to make.  It is a matter of ethics.  I’m sorry that your religion teaches you that all foreskins must be removed and that your hypothetical son’s foreskin in the future may cause you emotional religious distress, but when he is old enough to make the decision for himself, If you have raised him with love and instilled in him the same beliefs that you harbor, he will probably opt to have the operation done in which case, yes it is less traumatic to have had it done as a baby.  If only there were a way to know what someone would chose when they are old enough it would be wonderful, but the fact of the matter is that it is an operation that cannot be undone and thus should only be performed on those old enough to know what they want for themselves.  In fact, enacting this law further separates church and state because it stops one individual’s religious beliefs from being imposed on the body of another.  My parents had me circumcised when I was an infant and I have always resented it.  Had I been able to make the choice my self, I would be grateful to my parents for leting ME choose how MY body is going to be.  Even if I had decided for some religious reason to have the operation done, I would still think that it is each individual’s choice for their own body, not a choice parents should make, not knowing if their children actually want it done or not.again regarding religious rights of passage, do you think that Muslim Families should be allowed to have clitorectomys performed on their daughters?  This is also a religious ceremony that is sacred to certain portions of the population, but it is not permitted because it is a clear violation of human rights.  The reason that religious circumcision has been allowed to go on for so long is because it isn’t AS much of a violation of an individual’s rights to choose for them-self because it doesn’t prevent orgasm and it’s not AS dangerous.  The fact of the matter is however, that you are still cutting the body of someone who presumably is not in need of any kind of medical treatment, without their consent, diminishing their future potential sexual pleasure and imposing your beliefs onto their body.  YOUR SON’S BODY IS NOT YOURS!  It is his, and by mutilating it without his consent is a violation of ethics.

  • When the foreskin is too tight, the are other less invasive operations which can relieve the tension without removing the foreskin.  My ex’s foreskin was too tight so he had an operation where doctors cut the penal frenulum (the part near the tip connecting the foreskin to the shaft which relieved the tightness, but without getting rid of the foreskin.  This of course is a great compromise between circumcision and a natural penis.  His sexual pleasure was actually increased because his foreskin was no longer too tight, but he didn’t lose the sensation of the nerve endings in the foreskin.  The procedure also made it easier for him to clean under his foreskin.  The point here though is that He made the decision regarding his own penis on his own terms. nobody forced it on him.

  • I agree about banning infant body mutilation, but I don’t think i’ve ever heard a more shallow reason for doing so.

  • The flaw in your argument is that abortion is about a woman’s choice as far as what happens to HER body, even if it does end the potential for someone else to live.  what happens in the case of infant circumcision is parents making a choice affecting SOMEBODY ELSE’S body.  Somebody who is conceivably going to live to either appreciate or rue that decision made without their input.  sure circumcision doesn’t end a life, but the child cannot choose for its self whether it wants a circumcision or not.  it should be that individual’s choice when they are at an appropriate age, not their parents’ decision unless there are immanent health concerns, not just potential or imaginary ones.

  • I agree Samantha. I am a mother also, and I was not giving the option to circumsise my son, who is now 5. Despite teaching him the proper way to care for his penis, he still gets numerous infections a year. Sometimes, you have to make a hard choice, but it should be OUR choice. We are the parents, and it is our job to make sure our kids are happy and healthy.

  • Dylan Huerta

    I think every man should be able to give consent before having such a painful thing done to them, especially without painkillers or anything. People think that doing it as an infant is best because “they won’t remember anyway. Well, though they may not consiously remember the experience, there is evidence it will effect them later on in life. It could help contribute to those mental problems that are so common nowadays, for example making them feel vunerable and unsafe in the world

  • Jeremy Cantrell

    i wonder why people are so up in arms about this “barbaric” practice, its not like the kids gonna remember the pain when they are an adult. ultimately i could give less than a **** but some people get so extreme. i do not think it should be banned because a ban would kind of undermine religious freedoms of Muslims and Jews.

  • Jeremy Cantrell

    if you get circumcised as an adult it will have a harder time healing and most doctors would not recommend it

  • Sara Peters

    Religious people having their sons circumcised should be outlawed but sucking the brains out of a baby’s skull is a woman’s right to choose?

    For all those that wish their parents hadn’t circumcised them may I ask if you would have preferred being aborted?

    Yep…San Francisco…..