Coverage (media, not glans)
SFist, October 6 2014
As I warned you over the weekend [See “Live Foreskin Painting Will Happen At Castro Street Fair Sunday” below] there was indeed live painting happening at Castro Street Fair on Sunday, with one man's penis serving as the only paintbrush.
Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project founder Glen Callender was the artist/foreskin pride activist in question, and he was selling his wares — canvases of various sizes on which he "printed" with his foreskin in white, red, or black acrylic paint — for between $20 and $100.
I'll say I was a little disappointed in the work itself, imagining that Callender's foreskin painting was going to be more gestural, perhaps with a more abstract quality. Suffice it to say, the paintings were not flying off the tables of his booth, however his point about foreskin pride and the anti-circumcision cause — complete with very graphic close-up photos of his foreskin — definitely got across. This man was quite proud of his intact penis.
Read this article (plus reader comments) at SFist.
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SFist, October 4 2014
Anyone who's been to Castro Street Fair in recent years knows that there are always at least two booths there devoted to denouncing circumcision and celebrating "foreskin pride" and foreskin mutilation awareness. Well, they're back!
But this time, it will be artistic.
Per an email to SFist from Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project founder Glen Callender, "I am returning to the Castro Street Fair on Sunday with a live foreskin painting exhibition!"
Yes, there will be foreskin painting, and Callender's "masterpieces" will be available for purchase.
“San Franciscans know that foreskin is valuable, they know that forcing circumcision upon a child is a serious human-rights violation — and after they see my foreskin apply paint to canvas like a little Michelangelo perched on the end of my penis, they will come to appreciate the fantastic foreskin on a whole new level."
Below you can see an NSFW video of Callender doing his thing at Vancouver Pride two years ago, just to give you an idea.
Castro Street Fair goes from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, throughout the Castro.
Read this article (plus many lively reader comments) at SFist.
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News Talk 650 CKOM Saskatoon, June 21 2014
As hundreds of people marched through downtown in the pouring rain for the pride parade on Saturday, one man was on a mission to bring attention to a very sensitive issue.
Among all the glitter and rainbows, Glen Callender was out to show his foreskin pride in the hopes of bringing awareness to the damage caused by circumcision and the skewed right to genital integrity.
As the founder of the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project, Callender said their main goal is to ban circumcision in children until they're 18 years old.
"If you're an adult, you have a right to modify your body as you see fit, but nobody has the right to deprive you of your own body parts based on their beliefs, aesthetic preferences or any [other] reason," Callender said.
Callender said there's an unequal application of a person's right to their own body because people view male circumcision differently than female circumcision.
Under Canadian law, girls under 18 cannot have their genitals tampered with, even for religious reasons.
"We are not accustomed to female circumcision because it's not in the bible. It's easy for us to look at that and say that's wrong but 'oh, taking a knife to a boy's penis? That's just good parenting'," Callender said. "If a girl has that right, then so do boys and intersex children."
In South Africa it is illegal to circumcise a boy under the age of 16 without religious or medical reasons.
Though considered normal procedure in most of North America, circumcision has become a hot button issue in Europe with states such as Finland and Denmark considering legislation to limit or ban circumcision of minors.
Callender predicts the world will see the first state to ban circumcision in minors within a year or two.
Though his group’s message mirrors pride [values] of sexual freedom, self-determination and human rights, Callender said his group receives mixed reactions at pride events.
"Most of the time when you see a pride parade you'll agree with most of the messages because the homophobes don't come. So foreskin pride is in the unusual position of actually confronting the sexual prejudice of queer people," he said, adding he's received everything from thankful handshakes to booing. "It's very difficult for a man to admit that there's any short coming in his penis."
For now, Callender is working to generate awareness by attending as many pride events as he can. He'll be in Toronto next week for World Pride, then to pride weeks in Victoria B.C., Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary and Atlanta.
Read this article at the News Talk 650 website.
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He thinks of himself as the “Johnny Appleseed of the foreskin,” and he’s coming to Saskatoon.
Some activists in the city have taken to social media, but until now no one has organized a public event on the topic in Saskatchewan, Glen Callender said.
His group, Foreskin Pride, will march in the Saskatoon Pride parade on Saturday, and intends to protest in front of a circumcision clinic on Monday.
“Part of what I’m trying to do, as one of the more seasoned activists in the movement in Canada, is come to communities where the support is only really online, they don’t have the experience of doing street protests.”
Callender said he first became aware of circumcision when he was about eight years old, was “horrified” by the thought, and became active in the genital autonomy movement in 2010.
That’s when Callender started the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project, which calls itself “Canada’s best-known and feistiest pro-foreskin advocacy group.” He’s opposed to male circumcision, which he says severs nerve endings and limits a life of sexual pleasure.
They advocate for the right of boys, girls and intersex children to grow up with intact genitals and make their own decision whether to be circumcised. Three out of 10 Canadian boys are circumcised, a significant drop from past decades, he said.
He started Foreskin Pride in 2012, as a subgroup of the gay pride movement. His group mirrors the core principles of pride — human rights, sexual freedom and sexual self-determination, he said.
“Canadian men will not have real sexual freedom as long as other people have arbitrary editing rights over our genitalia when we’re too young to defend ourselves.”
The groups started in Victoria and Vancouver in 2012, then spread to nine cities in 2013, and plan to hit at least 17 cities this year in Canada and the U.S. On June 29, contingents will take part in Pride parades in Toronto, Manhattan, Chicago and San Francisco.
“It’s certainly catching on, because people do understand genital mutilation of children is a serious human rights issue,” Callender said.
Pride celebrates all groups and organizations, and that “carries over to allowing everybody to have their freedom of speech, and have their thoughts and beliefs be heard,” said Danny Papadatos, chair of Saskatoon Pride.
“We welcome them to share their group and opinions with the people of Saskatoon.”
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Vue Weekly, June 12 2014
If you’re looking for someone to blame for the poor weather at Saturday’s Pride parade, look no further than Glen Callender.
“The security guards failed to keep us out, so the wrath of God was visited upon us,” Callender jokes. “If you’ve read the Old Testament, you know that God hates foreskin and I guess he’s pissed that we’re intruding on his favourite Canadian foreskin killing ground.”
Callender, founder of the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project, was denied entry to Edmonton’s Pride parade due to space constraints but, with the consent of organizers, marched directly afterwards. The group advocates for all boys to have the right to grow up with intact genitals, seeking a criminalization of male circumcision for non-medical reasons. The cause always has detractors—people who themselves were circumcised or who circumcised their children—but Callender has experienced more dissent in Edmonton than anywhere else.
“The vast regional disparity in circumcision rates shows that child circumcision is cultural surgery,” Callender explains. “Alberta is the top [Canadian] circumciser today, because it is the country’s conservative heartland. Rates are dropping in Alberta as elsewhere, but the conservative resistance to change, in concert with conservative values that favour exerting control over children and sexuality in general, are slowing the process.”
A 2006 – 07 survey called “What Mothers Say” by the Public Health Agency of Canada showed that Alberta has the highest baby circumcision rate in Canada at 44.3 percent. Which, to Callender, makes bringing his cause to Edmonton all the more important. The group will be at seven more Pride parades this year, but the question persists about whether it should be a part of Pride at all.
Edmonton Pride executive director Angela Bennett says that even if Callender had applied in time to be granted entry, there would have been serious discussion as to whether his project would be eligible for the parade.
“Is his cause is a human-rights issue? I would say so. But is it a Pride issue? I don’t know; I don’t feel like it is,” Bennett says. “What does circumcision have to do specifically with Pride?”
But to Callender, the project represents the core values of Pride, like sexual freedom, which is lost when anyone has “arbitrary editing rights” over someone else’s genitals. So he was surprised to face similar questioning when applying to participate in Winnipeg’s Pride parade.
“You can go to the parade in Edmonton and there was a designated driver service and there was a pet adoption outfit and things that have nothing to do with queer people or human rights,” Callender says. “Yet there’s this layer of criticism or skepticism that people express when it’s foreskin pride, and I think that’s just absurd and really shows the discomfort people have with our issue.”
Callender maintains the fight for a boy’s right to keep his foreskin will be a defining human-rights issue of the 21st century and that once male circumcision is seriously tested by Canadian courts, it won’t hold up. He hopes for this to lead to an amendment where, just like girls, boys will be legally protected from genital mutilation.
Until then, Callender plans to continue attending Pride parades to advertise his message, including a return to Edmonton’s next year.
“[Pride] has become more of a market. It’s supposed to be family friendly and, more importantly, brand friendly, and there’s not a lot of controversy at Pride anymore,” Callender says. “What we’re doing is to very much bring back that edge to Pride. I think that there should be much less people on the sidewalk and a lot more people in the parade, because there’s still a lot of work to do.”
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Terry Evans in the Morning, With Bill Cowen, June 11 2014
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Alternate headlines: Foreskin Advocates uncut from Pride parade, Foreskin advocates welcome at Winnipeg Pride parade — if they keep it in their pants
A group called "Foreskin Pride" has been un-banned from Winnipeg's Pride parade, on condition they keep it in their pants.
The group participates in festivals across North America and were accepted into the parade April 10.
But then, the group says, they were asked not to participate.
In 2012, Foreskin Pride leader Glen Callender marched in Vancouver's parade without underwear, violating local laws.
Callender said he met with the board of Winnipeg Pride and signed a contract promising to keep his pants on and was reinstated.
"Don't get me wrong, it would have been a great honour to be the first group ever to be banned from the Winnipeg Pride parade," Callender said.
"I hope that someday, glorious full-frontal (not to mention full-foreskin) nudity will be welcomed in the Winnipeg Pride parade. But until that day comes, I will be happy to advocate for the fabulous foreskin with my pants on."
The purpose of the group is to assert that "foreskin is a human right," in protest of some customs that remove it.
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The Stream (Al Jazeera English), April 21 2014
Watch the full program “The Stream: To cut or not to cut” (and read viewer comments) at the Al Jazeera English on YouTube.
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Gene Weingarten, The Washington Post, April 11/18 2014 (print/online)
As a responsible journalist, I am sometimes compelled to stop what I’m doing and investigate for you, the reader. This just in:
A group of foreskin advocates are protesting against Bill and Melinda Gates. The Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project (CAN-FAP) claims the Gateses fund male circumcisions in African countries to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, a practice the group calls “dangerously misguided.”
“Literally no one on Earth is more detrimental to foreskin than Bill Gates,” CAN-FAP founder Glen Callender said.
I got the guy on the horn.
Me: I was surprised to learn you have a foreskin. I would have thought the leaders of your movement would be men who are angry at what was done to them as infants. I have heard such men on TV and read their Internet manifestos, and, if I may be blunt, some of them seem to be a little puzzlingly ... intense.
Glen: All movements have a radical side, with nutty people. It’s no different with Intactivism. There are always some crazies.
Me: Glen, you pose on your Web site standing on a rock, naked from the waist down and your fist defiantly in the air. You conduct private demonstrations at street festivals, in a “Foreskin Awareness Booth,” including a trick involving the use of grapes.
Glen: Exactly. I celebrate my foreskin instead of raging about how I don’t have one.
Me: You claim that foreskin-deprived persons such as myself are less sexually sensitive and genitally aware. I am now 62, but for most of my life being more sexually sensitive and genitally aware would not have been a good thing. Had I been any more sexually sensitive and genitally aware than I was at, say, 25, I might well have become one of those humpy rush-hour creeps targeted in poster campaigns in public transportation featuring the appalled faces of rightfully indignant women. I think many circumcised men would agree with me.
Glen: Men have to be crazy to want less penis.
Me: There’s a link on your site for “merch.” I was afraid to click on it because it sounded like some sort of foreskin-related substance. But it turned out to be “merchandise.” I see you sell “I (heart) my foreskin” T-shirts. Anything else?
Glen: We are rolling out a new line of original art, painted on a canvas with my foreskin. They are reasonably priced, starting at $10 for a 4-by-4.
Me: The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not agree with your opposition to Bill Gates’s efforts. Three massive studies in Africa were separately halted because the reduction in HIV infections was so spectacular that researchers decided it was unethical not to advise the control groups to get circumcised. Can a case be made that by telling people to stay intact, you, Glen Callender, are a monster of Gates-ian proportions?
Glen: No. Research done by circumcised people is inherently biased and unreliable. The circumcised world loathes and fears foreskins.
Me: So foreskins are an oppressed minority?
Glen: If they could talk, that’s exactly what they would say. Don’t get them started on Jews and Muslims.
Me: You deny you are a maniacal, one-issue zealot?
Glen: I do.
Me: Do you have a position on, say, the Russian incursion into Crimea?
Glen: No. Ukrainians and Russians both have foreskins, so I don’t have a dog in that fight.
Read this article (plus reader comments) at The Washington Post.
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VICE, March 25 2014
The majority of the Western world has already come to the conclusion that female genital mutilation is bad. It’s brutal, invasive, and causes children unbelievable amounts of pain for no reason. But male genital mutilation, or circumcision, is actually hailed as a great way to prevent everything from venereal diseases to cancer. Medical associations refrain from condemning or supporting circumcision for the most part, and generally leave the decision up to a child’s parents. But plenty of anti-circumcision activists want the procedure banned altogether, like the Canadian organization called CAN-FAP.
CAN-FAP, or the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project organized a protest last week in Vancouver during a TED Talk featuring Bill and Melinda Gates. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been donating millions of dollars to programs that offer circumcision in Africa as a preventative measure against HIV, and CAN-FAP has dubbed Bill Gates, “Foreskin Enemy #1.” I caught up with Glen Callender, the founder of CAN-FAP, to ask him what he was thinking when he named his organization, among other things.
VICE: First off, what’s with the name, CAN-FAP?
Glen Callender: Well, a lot of people seem to think it’s a mistake. But of course it’s deliberate, and it’s a reference to the history of circumcision in the Western world. It began as a non-religious surgery in the 1800s to primarily prevent boys from masturbating. The foreskin is, of course, a built in masturbation aid and that’s the way nature intended it.
So, tell me how CAN-FAP got started?
I started CAN-FAP in June 2010. The main motivation for it was that I have a really enjoyable foreskin. My foreskin actually has its own orgasms and it feels fantastic every day of my life. When I was a kid and I learned about circumcision for the first time, I already had a very good relationship with my foreskin and the idea horrified me. That horror has never left my system, just knowing that little boys are being strapped down and having this valuable, enjoyable part of their penis cut off. The men who have foreskins know that it’s a good body part, it’s valuable, and that there aren’t bad parts of the penis. This is an ancient, religious superstitious idea. There are no bad parts of the penis, there are no bad parts of the female vulva, it’s all good, and we shouldn’t be tampering with the sexuality of children and the adults that they grow up to be. We understand, because we’re not accustomed to it, that female genital mutilation of any kind is child abuse. You’re taking a sharp object and you’re deliberately causing pain and bleeding and amputation to a child’s genitals. Well, we do the same thing with boys, and we need to stop doing it. Knives and genitals of children should have nothing to do with each other. It doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl, or you cut a little or a lot, taking a knife to the genitals of a child is sexual abuse.
Are there any health benefits to circumcision?
The circumcision rate in some countries is less than one percent, so if circumcision improves men’s sexual health, we would see men getting sick in Europe because of their foreskins. But it turns out that the sexual health of intact European men and their female partners is as good or better than their circumcised counterparts. It’s really bullshit. It’s all about making parents scared so they’ll hand over their babies to be circumcised so doctors can make their money. They know if a boy grows up, when he’s 18 years old there’s no way he’s going to want a knife near his penis, because any man would be crazy to want less penis.
It’s like, if you saw them plucking out a kid’s eye, you would be horrified because you have an eye and you know how wonderful an eye is. But then you have the parents saying: “No, no, no, we come from a religion that believes that there’s one evil eye and you pluck that eye out! And it’s fine having one eye, you can still see.” And you go: "Shut up! You’re plucking out a kid’s eye and taking away a sense organ from him. You’re taking away part of his body that he uses to interact with the world and enjoy life." I feel the same way about my foreskin. I have a foreskin, and frankly, that makes it clear that all the arguments for circumcision are bullshit.
Can you tell me why you’re calling Bill Gates, “Foreskin Enemy #1?"
Through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, Bill Gates has committed over 145 million dollars to circumcising as many African men and boys as possible. And there are hints that they might actually be prepared to spend up to a billion dollars on this, as these programs scale up in different countries. That makes Bill Gates personally responsible for more unnecessary circumcisions than any other individual in the world. He has exterminated more foreskin than anybody else, and that is why he is Foreskin Enemy #1. It’s just an embarrassment in the 21st century, the idea that we should be making up reasons to cut off healthy, normal parts of peoples’ bodies is insane.
The studies that Bill Gates uses as basis for this funding really make circumcision look good. The results show 50 to 70 percent reduction in HIV transmission over a short period of time, and that’s the thing in some cases: even if it works, it’s over a short period of time, not long term. The bottom line here is that real world populations don’t reflect that data. If circumcision really did prevent VDs, population data would consistently show that circumcised populations had less VDs than the intact, but that’s not the case. The United States proves this within its own borders. They had the biggest HIV epidemic in the western world there among an almost completely circumcised male population.
Why did people start messing with penises in the first place?
It started out as a preventative measure against masturbation, because they believed in Victorian times that masturbation caused all sorts of health problems. Then it became used as prevention against venereal diseases, then cancer, they always make it whatever the scary thing is. Today, it’s HIV so lo and behold, circumcision prevents HIV! And in the future, if a new venereal disease emerges that we haven’t yet heard of, well, they’ll say that circumcision prevents that too. But really, for cultural and religious and financial reasons, they want to cut off your foreskin. It is a billion dollar industry in the US, about 3,000 boys a day are circumcised and that earns pediatricians over a billion dollars a year. And there’s billions more in hospitals and the fact that foreskins get sold into the biotech industry and get used to create skin grafts and used to create collagen and other ingredients for beauty creams. The bottom line here is that this is not an ethical industry.
And what a coincidence that the part that’s being cut off is on the most enjoyable part of your body. You know, God doesn’t want a knuckle, or the index toe off of one of your feet, or a bit of your earlobe, no. He wants part of your penis. You know, your genitals are supposed to be your happy place and religion wants to make them your unhappy place, your shame place.
You do something called the Foreskin Pride Salute, can you explain it?
Explain it? Well, first of all, you can’t have a circumcised t-shirt. You’ve got to have a long-sleeved shirt that goes all the way down to your wrists. And you make a fist with your hand, which symbolizes the head of the penis, you tuck that fist away into the sleeve of your shirt and heroically extend your arm skyward and pull back that sleeve to reveal the fist. And that is very symbolic. I hope that intact men around the world will adopt the foreskin pride salute to show the world that intact men are proud of our foreskins and we love them. The problem is in your head, not on my penis.
Anything else to add?
I’d like to add that black foreskin is beautiful.
Read this article (plus reader comments) at VICE.
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Drew Lane Show, March 24 2014
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Vimeo, March 24 2014
Watch this video (and other CAN-FAP classics) at Vimeo.
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Late Night With Seth Meyers, March 23 2014 (online)
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The founder of the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project is waging war with Bill Gates to stop "unnecessary" circumcisions
Vocativ, March 20 2014
“Bill Gates: Foreskin Enemy #1.” This was the slogan on one of the picket signs outside TED at the Vancouver Convention Centre Tuesday night, where inside Gates and his wife, Melinda, were discussing their foundation’s efforts to combat communicable diseases in developing countries. The demonstrators were there to protest the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s funding of voluntary male circumcision programs in Sub-Saharan Africa, designed to reduce the transmission of HIV. The campaigners believe the programs do little to cut infection rates.
“Circumcision doesn’t work, and what’s happening with Bill and Melinda Gates now is that they are mutilating literally millions of men and boys, and it’s not going to help,” says Glen Callender, founder of the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project (aka CAN-FAP). “Bill Gates is directly responsible for more unnecessary circumcisions than any other single individual on the planet. He is behind the destruction of more foreskins than any other individual. That is why he’s foreskin enemy number one.”
The World Health Organization maintains that there is “compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60 percent,” research that underpins the Gates’ plans. Callender, however, says the studies that informed the research were not well-executed. This is an opinion shared by some within the scientific community who posit that circumcision programs can increase the risk of transmission by taking “resources away from more effective, less expensive, less invasive alternatives.” Though the Gates group does advocate for a multipronged approach to fight HIV infection, Callender believes the circumcision programs are a product of Bill Gates’ cultural ignorance.
“I’m not saying that Bill Gates is malicious in his intent,” he says. “I don’t know if he is circumcised or not, but he was born in 1955 as a white male in the United States, so the chances of him having it are very small, and the culture is a circumcising culture. He means well, but he’s failed to notice his cultural bias. …It feels good to export your culture to other places.”
Callender is very passionate about foreskins. He says there is a difference between being anti-circumcision and pro-foreskin and he’s firmly in the latter camp, fighting instead for a man’s right to choose—a sentiment he believes is slowly taking on greater importance in society. “I’m not against circumcision. I’m against circumcision being forced on people without their consent,” he says. “That is the focal point of the entire movement—that people have a right to consent to the modification of their bodies, to the removal of genital tissue, pleasurable functional tissue. Because the foreskin is not inconsequential, it has many functions that contribute to sex and the penis, and all those are taken away when you are circumcised.”
This is why he formed CAN-FAP—a playful masturbation reference. The group seeks to educate the public about foreskins by participating in rallies to bring attention to the cause. The most recent protest involved Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of SkinMedica, an anti-aging cream containing cells grown from samples of genital skin. Then there’s the Foreskin Awareness Booth, a family-friendly demonstration held at street festivals and gay pride celebrations where Callender shows groups of up to 25 people his uncircumcised penis, highlighting what it can do and how to clean it, while educating the audience on the dangers of circumcision—with a few jokes thrown in for good measure.
Though he doesn’t offer hands-on demos in the booth, he is a proponent of what he calls “foregasms”—bringing yourself to climax using only your foreskin—and will be releasing some instructional videos for guys on his site in coming weeks. “We’ve been conditioned to think that the head of the penis is where the action is,” he says, adding he was inspired by medical studies that highlighted the various nerves of the penis. “I thought to myself, if nerves are concentrated in these areas of my inner foreskin, then if I isolate them without stimulating other parts of my penis, interesting things should happen.”
But the movement, he says, isn’t just about sex. Callender and other pro-foreskin activists want parents to question their motivations for circumcising their children and consider holding off until the kids are old enough to make their own choice. “The ultimate goal of the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project, as the genital autonomy movement in general, is to protect the rights of all children—male, female and intersex—to grow up with whole, intact genitals, and have the right to decide for themselves if parts of their genitals get modified or cut off,” he says. “That is the end game.”
Read this article (plus reader comments) at Vocativ.
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Late Night With Seth Meyers, March 19 2014
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Jay Thomas Show (Sirius Satellite Radio), March 18 2014
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Jim Richards Showgram, March 18 2014
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TED TALKS PROTEST: Activists want Gates to end circumcision funding
VANCOUVER — Bill Gates is the most highly anticipated speaker at the TED Talks in Vancouver on Tuesday – but the Microsoft founder's philanthropic work is being protested by “pro-foreskin” activists.
The Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project has criticized a program funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which it said granted more than $160 million for 14 African countries' HIV/AIDS prevention programs encouraging male circumcision.
“Circumcision does not prevent HIV,” group founder Glen Callender said. “Bill Gates means well, there certainly are things he's doing that I fully support, but I do not agree that circumcision is a valid or reasonable approach for 21st-century AIDS prevention.”
He argued circumcision can create scar tissue and remove many sensory nerves in the penis.
For University of B.C. Medicine's Dr. Richard Lester, the evidence linking HIV and circumcision is nearly unanimous – “as clear as you really can get in medical research,” the division of infectious diseases researcher said.
“It's actually one of the best-proven interventions for reducing HIV/AIDS transmission,” he said.
Although the reasons aren't “exactly completely understood,” accepted theories include foreskin cells being more susceptible to HIV and also their ability to hold fluids longer.
Lester acknowledged controversy exists over such programs.
“There's a reasonable debate about whether it (circumcision) should be recommended broadly,” he said. “It should be offered as an informed choice, but not pushed on people as a program.”
He added “multiple strategies” are needed to combat a pandemic that “at this point is just suppressed, not cured.”
Last year, Callender was among several dozen people protesting Oprah Winfrey's speech in Vancouver over beauty products the talk-show queen endorsed and made with human foreskin cells.
“I am hoping someday to do a TED Talk myself,” Callender said.
The Gates Foundation couldn’t be reached for comment by press time.
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Metro Vancouver, March 17 2014
Foreskin advocates plan to protest Bill Gates for funding circumcision programs in Africa when the Microsoft founder speaks at the Ted Talks conference in Vancouver on Tuesday.
The Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project hopes to label Gates as “foreskin enemy #1” for donating millions to circumcision programs in 14 countries to reduce the risk of HIV transmission, according to an event posting on Facebook.
Project founder Glen Callender calls into question the research that claims male circumcision reduces transmission of the virus. (There is “compelling evidence” it reduces heterosexual infections in men by about 60 per cent, according to the World Health Organization.)
“Soon it will be obvious that circumcision gave these men false confidence, not effective protection,” Callender said in the event posting. “Bill Gates is an intelligent man who certainly means well, but he really blew it this time.”
This isn’t Callender’s first time protesting the rich and famous over foreskin. He made headlines across North America last year when he protested Oprah for promoting face cream with ingredients derived from foreskin. (That particular product, SkinMedica, was derived from growth factors from a single donation of foreskin more than a decade ago.)
“If my foreskin and I don’t publicly challenge at least one world-famous pro-circumcision billionaire philanthropist each year, then we’re not doing our job as Canada’s premier man-foreskin circumcision-fighting team,” Callender said.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donates millions annually to help the 33 million people around the world living with HIV. They fund research on an HIV vaccine, the delivery of anti-retroviral treatment and the development of ways to reduce transmission, including contraception and circumcision.
The protesters will gather around the Vancouver Convention Centre before Bill and Melinda Gates take the stage at 6 p.m.
Read this article (plus reader comments) at Metro Vancouver.
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The Huffington Post, March 17 2014
A group of foreskin advocates are planning to protest outside Bill and Melinda Gates' TED Vancouver talk on Tuesday evening.
The Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project (CAN-FAP) claims the Gates' Foundation funds male circumcisions in African countries to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, a practice the group calls "dangerously misguided."
“Literally no one on Earth is more detrimental to foreskin than Bill Gates,” CAN-FAP founder Glen Callender said in a press release on Facebook.
“Gates’ astronomical mass circumcision funding will result in tens of millions of men and boys being circumcised, which will make him directly responsible for more unnecessary circumcisions than any other living person. And that’s why CAN-FAP will be publicly declaring Gates ‘Foreskin Enemy #1’ on Tuesday.”
Last year, CAN-FAP made headlines for protesting Oprah Winfrey's endorsement of an anti-aging cream that they say was developed with skin cells harvested from baby foreskin.
The Gates' talk is part of TED Vancouver's Session 4, which takes place from 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
The CAN-FAP protest is scheduled to run 4:30-8 p.m.
The TED Vancouver conference, which features world influencers, scientists, entrepreneurs and artists, runs until March 21.
Read this article (plus reader comments) at The Huffington Post.
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Georgia Straight, March 17 2014
When Bill and Melinda Gates take the stage on Tuesday evening (March 18) at Vancouver's first TED conference, there will be a small group of protesters outside.
A bunch of activists calling themselves the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project plan to speak out against the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's funding of male circumcision as part of HIV/AIDS efforts in Africa.
CAN-FAP founder Glen Callender says in a news release:
No one on Earth is more detrimental to foreskin than Bill Gates. Gates’ astronomical mass circumcision funding will result in tens of millions of men and boys being circumcised, which will make him directly responsible for more unnecessary circumcisions than any other living person. And that’s why CAN-FAP will be publicly declaring Gates ‘Foreskin enemy #1’ on Tuesday.
In a 2012 letter, posted on his foundation's website, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates claims male circumcision "reduces HIV transmission by up to 70 percent". In May 2013, the foundation allocated US$1.2 million to the World Health Organization to fund the "prequalification of devices to assist in performing circumcisions and the development of guidelines on the use of devices".
Gates's letter states:
Over 1 million men ages 15–49 have been circumcised in 14 Southern and Eastern African countries with large AIDS epidemics, but that is only 5 percent of the total number who could benefit from the procedure. Even in the ancient practice of circumcision, innovation has the potential to make a big difference. The new PrePex and Shang Ring devices simplify the procedure and make surgery unnecessary. The first studies suggest that these devices are both safe and effective. (I will keep this letter G-rated by leaving out the pictures of how the devices work.) Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania are starting to show leadership by getting the message out to all young men that it is important to get circumcised. Kenya has made the most progress, circumcising 70 percent of eligible men. I will be very disappointed if, by 2015, any fewer than 15 million young men have chosen to protect themselves and their partners by getting circumcised.
Callender maintains that cutting off the foreskin from penises will not protect men from HIV and may actually give them "false confidence". His group is calling on the Gates Foundation to end its support for circumcision and redirect that funding (totalling US$145 million so far, according to CAN-FAP) to condoms and other effective methods.
In CAN-FAP's release, Callender states:
Gates has clearly listened to the world’s most ardent circumcision promoters, but has he listened to a leading foreskin advocate? I challenge him to hear the other side of the story. If you put Bill Gates in a four by four metre room with me and my foreskin for exactly 44 minutes, he will emerge convinced that circumcision is not just the wrong way to solve the HIV crisis — it’s wrong, period.
Will Gates accept Callender's invitation to meet him "face-to-face-to-foreskin"? We'll have to wait and see.
CAN-FAP calls itself "Canada’s feistiest pro-foreskin advocacy group". Its website says they "advocate for the human right of all children — male, female and intersex — to grow up with intact genitals. In other words, all children have an inalienable right to their own bodies, and no one has the right to amputate another person’s healthy, normal genital tissue without their informed consent."
Read this article (plus reader comments) at the Georgia Straight.
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