An intactivist is a person who engages in intactivism (also known as the genital autonomy movement); a person who participates in an activist group or as an individual, to promote or defend the right of children to grow to adulthood being genitally intact. Intactivists are human rights activists who oppose the non-consensual genital modification of male, female, or intersex individuals.. Intactivists perceive genital mutilation -of girls, boys or intersex children- as a contradiction to the fundamental human right to physical integrity and genital autonomy, and as such, as a violation of their human rights.
Origin of the name
The word intactivist was coined by Richard De Seabra of the National Organization of Restoring Men (NORM) in 1995. It combines the words intact (in reference to intact genitals) and activist.
Intactivists oppose circumcision of minors, female genital mutilation (Female Circumcision) and genital normalization surgeries of intersex minors - known as intersexual genital mutilation.
Intactivists believe that, in lack of absolute medical necessity, children should be allowed to remain intact until until they have attained an age of understanding, after which informed consent can be given (when being fully informed of all aspects of risks and loss). Intactivists maintain that parental preference, cultural, social and religious reasons are not adequate indications to justify the genital alteration of children; however, adults should be allowed to decide for themselves, based on their own preferences and ideas. This is consistent with the principle of bodily integrity.
Because intactivists support the right of adults to decide whether they wish to maintain their genitals intact or be surgically altered (including male circumcision, feminization or virilization of ambiguous genitalia, female genital cosmetic surgeries, sexual reassignment and other procedures), it is not correct to refer to intactivists as 'anti-circumcision activists'. Intactivists oppose coerced or forced circumcision, particularly of minors and vulnerable individuals, but they respect the fact that every person who can legally provide informed consent, has the right to do with their body as they wish.
Areas of action
Intactivists act by:
- Creating public awareness
- Public protests
- Educating the medical community
- Educating parents