World Association for Sexual Health

Four presentations on four different aspects of male genital cutting were well received at the WAS Congress in Prague. The subjects covered were:

  • “Health related and sexual consequences of non-therapeutic male circumcision in childhood” by Morten Frisch from Denmark;
  • “Non-therapeutic circumcision the position of the Royal Dutch Medical Association” by Gert van Dijk from the Netherlands;
  • “Gender, genital alteration and beliefs about bodily harm” by Brian Earp from the USA;
  • “A summary of the voices of damaged men from the records of 15 Square” by David Smith from the UK.

The session was chaired by Tiina Vilponen from the Sexpo Foundation from Finland. Before and after the session we were on the stand with the Sexpo team and a lot of interest, concern and surprise in the the topic of male genital cutting was shown by Sexologists from an enormous range of countries.

From L to R: Brian Earp, David Smith, Tiina Vilponen, Gert van Dijk and Morten Frisch.
Prague 29th May 2017

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HIV prevention and circumcision?

Reports on the BBC World Service (15/02/2017) and Africa Health describe a study published in the Lancet concerning the initiative to educate religious leaders to encourage the uptake of male circumcision as an HIV prevention measure. If you have questions about the HIV prevention benefits attributed to male circumcision by some trial studies in Africa then the presentation given by Michel Garenne from the Pasteur Institute in the video below is a good place to start looking for answers.

The video was recorded at the Genital Autonomy and Intaktiv e. V. conference in Frankfurt, May 2015.

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G.A. trustee board gets stronger

The years since GA started, in 2008, have seen a growing appreciation of the suffering and injustice endured by children as a rssult of genital cutting and modification. The board of G.A. is very grateful that Clare Chambers has decided to support our work and join our trustee board.

Clare Chambers is University Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Cambridge, where she is also a Fellow of Jesus College.  She is the author of Sex, Culture, and Justice: The Limits of Choice (Penn State University Press, 2008) and, with Phil Parvin, Teach Yourself Political Philosophy: A Complete Introduction (Hodder, 2012). She has also written numerous articles and chapters on feminist and liberal political philosophy. Her next book, Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State, will be published by Oxford University Press in 2017.

“Children everywhere should be protected against unnecessary genital cutting and modification. I have long been committed to this cause and I was deeply moved by the dedication of those I met at the 2016 Symposium at Keele University. I am delighted to be joining the Board of Genital Autonomy and look forward to supporting their vital work.”

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UN committee against torture

Thanks to for alerting us to this encouraging news from the United Nations.

The UN-Committee against Torture (CAT) started an investigation of Intersex Genital Mutilations (IGM) in both the USA and Australia under Art. 16 of the Convention (“inhuman treatment” falling under the prohibition of torture). The Committee has formally asked the U.S. and Australia to provide statistics on IGM and to “indicate which criminal or civil remedies are available for people who have undergone involuntary sterilisation or unnecessary and irreversible medical or surgical treatment”.

Both State parties have now to explain themselves to the Committee in written reports due in 2017. Thereafter the Committee will review both states in Geneva. Considering that both the U.S. and Australia are major IGM perpetrators allowing and directly funding the mutilations, intersex advocates are again expecting stern reprimands for both states (see UN-Reprimands for IGM).

The Committee is acting on NGO reports submitted by intersex advocacy organisations
InterACT and OII Australia substantiating the ongoing practice in both countries.


Links to the NGO reports and the full questions by the Committee on Intersex and IGM within their “List of Issues” to both states on the blog.

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New trustee

We are very pleased to announce that Dr Mitchell Travis has agreed to join the Genital Autonomy board of trustees. Dr Travis is a law lecturer at the University of Leeds and member of the Centre for Law and Social Justice. His work revolves around bodily integrity, intersex rights and equality. He has been published in Medical Law Review, European Law Review and the International Journal of the Legal Profession. Mitchell has received grants from the Socio-Legal Studies Association and The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs.
Dr Travis says:

‘I am delighted to be working with Genital Autonomy. They are an organisation that I have admired for many years and was very pleased to be part of their successful summer conference. I hope to continue the good work that Genital Autonomy has done around the prohibition of intersex surgeries and look forward to working with them as a Trustee.’

Genital Autonomy is delighted to welcome Dr Travis.

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Stop Intersex Genital Mutilation

This video was recorded at the Genital Autonomy – Intaktiv symposium in May 2015. Markus Bauer from details the ethical and physical problems faced by people born with variations of sexual anatomy, often refered to as intersex.


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Successful symposium

The symposium at Keele University created new links and put many faces to names. Thanks to all those involved in the organisation of the event and to James for this group photo.


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Female genital alteration: a compromise solution — Arora and Jacobs — Journal of Medical Ethics

Arora and Jacobs, who have advocated tolerance of male circumcision, write in the present Journal of Medical Ethics advocating tolerance of minimal FGM.

J Med Ethics doi:10.1136/medethics-2014-102375
  • Feature article
  • Paper

Female genital alteration: a compromise solution

  1. Kavita Shah Arora1,2,
  2. Allan J Jacobs3

+ Author Affiliations

  1. 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

  2. 2Department of Bioethics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

  3. 3Director of Gynecologic Oncology at Coney Island Hospital, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Associate Faculty in Bioethics, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kavita Shah Arora, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, MetroHealth Medical Center, 2500 MetroHealth Drive, G230E, Cleveland, OH 44109, USA;
  • Received 17 July 2014
  • Revised 24 February 2015
  • Accepted 21 July 2015
  • Published Online First 22 February 2016


Despite 30 years of advocacy, the prevalence of non-therapeutic female genital alteration (FGA) in minors is stable in many countries. Educational efforts have minimally changed the prevalence of this procedure in regions where it has been widely practiced. In order to better protect female children from the serious and long-term harms of some types of non-therapeutic FGA, we must adopt a more nuanced position that acknowledges a wide spectrum of procedures that alter female genitalia. We offer a revised categorisation for non-therapeutic FGA that groups procedures by effect and not by process. Acceptance of de minimis procedures that generally do not carry long-term medical risks is culturally sensitive, does not discriminate on the basis of gender, and does not violate human rights. More morbid procedures should not be performed. However, accepting de minimis non-therapeutic f FGA procedures enhances the effort of compassionate practitioners searching for a compromise position that respects cultural differences but protects the health of their patients.

Source: Female genital alteration: a compromise solution — Arora and Jacobs — Journal of Medical Ethics

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