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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Female Genital Mutilation at Cornell University

Posted by on Wed, Jun 16, 2010 at 7:15 PM

While the whole world was debating the American Academy of Pediatrics' position on "female genital cutting"—the AAP was against it before they were for it, and now, after an outcry, they're against it again—Alice Dreger and Ellen Feder have been raising the alarm about "medical research" currently being conducted at Cornell University. A pediatric urologist at Cornell—Dix Poppas—has been operating on little girls with what he judges to be oversized clitorises, cutting away important clitoral tissues, and then stitching the glans to what remains of the shaft. Poppas claims that, unlike past clitoral-reduction procedures, his procedure is "nerve sparing."

First big problem: "nerve-sparing" surgeries don't always work. And the chunks of these girls' clitorises that the doctor is cutting away—large pieces of their clitoral shafts—may be just as important as the clitoral glans. Dreger:

To shorten these clitorises, Poppas is saving the glans (tip) but cutting out parts of the shaft. Bo Laurent has pointed out that Masters and Johnsons showed that many women masturbate by rubbing the shafts of their clitorises. (Think about it: the clit is the homologue of the penis. How do men masturbate?) Many women seem to find their clitoral glans almost too sensitive. Poppas's patients are loosing the option of touching parts of their shafts, because he's throwing them out (after the cut-away parts have been sent to pathology to see if he accidentally took out a nerve).

There's lots to be outraged about here: there's nothing wrong with these girls and their healthy, functional-if-larger-than-average clitorises; there's no need to operate on these girls; and surgically altering a girl's clitoris because it's "too big" has been found to do lasting physical and psychological harm. But what's most outrageous is how Poppas is "proving" that his surgery "spares nerves." Dreger and Feder:

But we are not writing today to again bring attention to the surgeries themselves. Rather, we are writing to express our shock and concern over the follow-up examination techniques described in the 2007 article by Yang, Felsen, and Poppas. Indeed, when a colleague first alerted us to these follow-up exams—which involve Poppas stimulating the girls’ clitorises with vibrators while the girls, aged six and older, are conscious—we were so stunned that we did not believe it until we looked up his publications ourselves.

Here more specifically is, apparently, what is happening: At annual visits after the surgery, while a parent watches, Poppas touches the daughter’s surgically shortened clitoris with a cotton-tip applicator and/or with a “vibratory device,” and the girl is asked to report to Poppas how strongly she feels him touching her clitoris. Using the vibrator, he also touches her on her inner thigh, her labia minora, and the introitus of her vagina, asking her to report, on a scale of 0 (no sensation) to 5 (maximum), how strongly she feels the touch.... Poppas has indicated in this article and elsewhere that ideally he seeks to conduct annual exams with these girls....

Although we have tried, we have been unable to locate any other pediatric urologist who uses these techniques. Indeed, we doubt many would, because we think most would—as we do—find this technique to be impossible to justify as being in these girls’ best interests. We understand that these tests might produce generalized knowledge that shows whether Poppas’s techniques are better than some other surgeons’, but it isn’t clear to us how this kind of genital touching post-operatively is in individual patients’ best interests. If the testing shows a girl has lost sensation through the surgery, her lost clitoral tissue cannot be put back. However, the tests would seem to expose the girls to significant risk of psychological harm.

In the course of our inquiries, made in preparation for this publication, nearly all clinicians to whom we described Poppas’s “clitoral sensory testing and vibratory sensory testing” practices thought them so outrageous that they told us we must have the facts wrong. When we showed them the 2007 article, their disbelief ceased, but they then seemed to become as agitated as we were. At an international conference two weeks ago, when Dreger told Ken Zucker, a psychologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and member of the clinical establishment, about this, Zucker said that we could quote him as saying this: “Applying a vibrator to a six-year-old girl’s surgically feminized clitoris is developmentally inappropriate.” We couldn’t find a clinician who disagreed with Zucker.

Yang, Felsen, and Poppas describe the girls “sensory tested” as being older than five. They are, therefore, old enough to remember being asked to lie back, be touched with the vibrator, and report on whether they can still feel sensation. They may also be able to remember their emotions and the physical sensations they experienced. Their parents’ participation may also figure in these memories. We think therefore that most reasonable people will agree with Zucker that Poppas’s techniques are “developmentally inappropriate.”

The 2007 article documenting Poppas's research is here.

Now more from Dreger's post at Psychology Today:

So why the heck do Poppas and other surgeons do these surgeries? They believe it is necessary to ensure "normal" sexual development.... Many of us happen to think "normal" sexual development is actually likely to be thwarted by having parts of your genitals taken away without your consent, and thwarted by follow-up exams like the ones we are describing. Ellen and I have gotten to know hundreds of adults born with sex anomalies who went through these medical scenes growing up. Many have told us that the genital displays involved in the follow-up exams were more traumatic than any other part of the experience. Indeed, when I once asked a group of women with androgen insensitivity syndrome what they wanted me to work on primarily in my advocacy work, they said stopping the exams, particularly those in which med students, residents, and fellows parade through to check out the surgeon's handiwork.

There's so much to be angry about I hardly know where to start. Applying a vibrator a girl's clitoris after it's been surgically shortened may demonstrate that she still has "sensation" in what's been left behind—that she still has a few nerve endings that function—but that's not proof that she hasn't been physically or emotionally harmed by the surgery and those traumatic follow-up "procedures." These post-op visits with the doctor and his vibrator do the girls no good—what can the doctor do if a girl reports no sensation? reassemble her clit?—and retaining sensation isn't proof that these girls will grow up to be healthy, sexually functional adults. All of the tissues that make up the clitoris—the glans, the stem, the erectile tissues—are important to sexual response, orgasm, and fulfillment, not just the part of the clitoris that's "normally" exposed.

There's another disturbing reason this surgery is being performed: girls with large clitorises are more likely to identify as lesbians when they grow up. Needless to say (or maybe not-so-needless): carving up a girl's clitoris does nothing to change the underlying hormonal and genetic factors that contribute to lesbian orientation and identity. Big clits don't make lesbians—lesbians sometimes make big clits. These surgeries are partly motivated by out-and-out homophobia, by the belief that "fixing" a large clit somehow prevents lesbianism. (Larger penises correlate positively with gayness in males but no one is out there shortening boys' penises.)

Please go and read Dreger and Feder's piece—"Bad Vibrations"—at the Bioethics Forum. And read Dreger's post at her own blog.

And if you're reading this and you're a student at Cornell: female genital mutilation is being practiced on your campus. What are you going to do about it?

 

Comments (372) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Banna 1
Does he punch them in the face after the operations?
Posted by Banna http://www.ucp.org on June 16, 2010 at 7:22 PM · Report this
2
Dix Poppas?
Posted by 311_TruthMovement on June 16, 2010 at 7:23 PM · Report this
3
How did that get past ethics?
Posted by KayElle on June 16, 2010 at 7:29 PM · Report this
Lurleen 4
One word: CONSENT. A child can't consent and therefore any adult, whether a parent or doctor, who mutilates a child's body is committing a crime. I include circumcision in the mutilation category. Whether the child is female or male, the term "mutilation" applies because the child can't possibly consent.

My uncle was circumcised on the kitchen table. I shudder to think of what parents do when of the mindset "we know better than nature".
Posted by Lurleen on June 16, 2010 at 7:30 PM · Report this
5
This evil, good for nothing piece of child mutilating AND molesting piece of shit is allowed to live... why?
Posted by Pol Pot on June 16, 2010 at 7:35 PM · Report this
opera cat 6
And presumably we can operate on animals without their consent because . . . ?
Posted by opera cat on June 16, 2010 at 7:36 PM · Report this
7
...I don't think I've ever cried such much over an article before. Please tell me we can do SOMETHING to stop this from happening to these girls?
Posted by dakoneko on June 16, 2010 at 7:37 PM · Report this
8
What the MOTHER FUCK. And speaking of mothers, what kind of a sick bitch voluntarily does this to their child?

My clit is pretty big. But I didn't *know* it was bigger than average until I explored my bisexuality and saw someone else's clit, and having a bigger than average clit has not in any way negatively impacted my life or my sexuality. Contrary to what these doctors and parents seem to think, six year olds are NOT comparing clit size during kindergarten nap time. And who the hell is judging what's "normal" and what isn't? Christ on toast, this pisses me off.

I wish I went to Cornell so I could raise holy stinking hell about this. In the office of the president, in front of television cameras.
Posted by Hannah in Portland on June 16, 2010 at 7:39 PM · Report this
Puck Falin 9
Dude... excuse me while I pick up my jaw. This is crazy! The supposed benefit of this study couldn't possibly outweigh its sheer outrageousness.
Posted by Puck Falin on June 16, 2010 at 7:39 PM · Report this
10
Just what is he telling the parents of these girls to get them to consent to this bullshit surgery? Are they immigrants who might have a cultural background of sexual surgery on young girls? And a what age is he doing this?
Because if ever there was a reason to pull a doctors credentials, this is it.
Posted by BakerB on June 16, 2010 at 7:40 PM · Report this
balderdash 11
I think there needs to be some real scrutiny into whoever approved this unbelievable fuckhead's funding. He's clearly at least a little demented, but someone, as @3 observed, had to approve his proposal and give him the money for it.

The procedure - and the entire conceptual framework behind it - is appalling. The fact that it's bad science, that the follow-up "testing" is so utterly facile, just adds to the indignity.
Posted by balderdash http://introverse.blogspot.com on June 16, 2010 at 7:42 PM · Report this
12
What's the difference between a bar and a clitoris?

Most men have no trouble finding a bar.

Q: What do a clitoris, an anniversary and a toilet have in common? A : Men usually miss them.
Posted by Kevin Keegan on June 16, 2010 at 7:42 PM · Report this
Chaparringes 13
I feel disgusted. How is this legal? Don't these little girls have rights? What are the parents thinking? Mutilating your child is not going to make them normal, it's going to fuck them up even more. And the post operative touching of genitals...ugh. I feel it's even worse that the parents are in the room. These people are supposed to protect their children, not stand by as someone causes them psychological damage.
Posted by Chaparringes on June 16, 2010 at 7:47 PM · Report this
14
Head aspload
Posted by cardigan weather on June 16, 2010 at 7:51 PM · Report this
Canuck 15
If anyone finds it hard to believe that a parent would allow this to happen to their child, they might want to read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, aside from being a really amazing book, a large part is devoted to the main character undergoing similar "testing and exams" shortly after puberty. Although it's fictional, I gather it's based on real events.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middlesex_%…
Posted by Canuck on June 16, 2010 at 7:51 PM · Report this
npage148 16
good job Cornell IRB
Posted by npage148 on June 16, 2010 at 7:52 PM · Report this
17
@4, a child can't consent, but their parents certainly can for them - otherwise every single medical treatment ever performed on a child would be assault.
Posted by KayElle on June 16, 2010 at 8:00 PM · Report this
18
Dan- where should concerned readers direct our comments and disapproval to? You were so great about providing the emails and phone numbers of the authorities in Constance McMillan's case - please, deploy your troops once again!
Posted by Jesi on June 16, 2010 at 8:03 PM · Report this
elenchos 19
It's as reckless and irreparable as wanting to nuke an offshore oil leak.

How did this get past ethics review? How?
Posted by elenchos on June 16, 2010 at 8:03 PM · Report this
Confluence 20
Wait, larger penises correlate with gayness in males?? Cite yer source! If that's true, it's so fucking unfair. Why do we straight chicks have to get stuck with all the micropenises?
Posted by Confluence on June 16, 2010 at 8:07 PM · Report this
Anne in MA 21
Jesus motherfucking christ

Also - using a vibrator on a 6 year old girl? Last I checked, vibrating someone to orgasm counts as having sex. This piece of shit is having sex with six year old girls.

This whole story is mind-bloggling.
Posted by Anne in MA on June 16, 2010 at 8:09 PM · Report this
Canuck 22
Way to be an asshole, Confluence. Don't joke about stuff like that.
Posted by Canuck on June 16, 2010 at 8:09 PM · Report this
23
This makes me sick. How is this guy not in prison? Isn't this child molestation? What, because the parents tell him to do it, that makes it ok for him to essentially fuck their daughters w/ a vibrator? I've never seen another clit (except in porn) and I don't sit around thinking "wow, mine is so much bigger!" And you would think a big clit would be a good thing...easier for a partner to find it!
Posted by CTlady on June 16, 2010 at 8:11 PM · Report this
24
"At annual visits after the surgery, while a parent watches, Poppas touches the daughter’s surgically shortened clitoris with a cotton-tip applicator and/or with a “vibratory device,” and the girl is asked to report to Poppas how strongly she feels him touching her clitoris. Using the vibrator, he also touches her on her inner thigh, her labia minora, and the introitus of her vagina, asking her to report, on a scale of 0 (no sensation) to 5 (maximum), how strongly she feels the touch.... Poppas has indicated in this article and elsewhere that ideally he seeks to conduct annual exams with these girls...."

Sounds like a child molester to me. With the added thrill of having the parents present while he molests them. What a sick fuck.
And where is the IRB here? Where is the Medical Board?
And where are those evangelicals who claim they want to protect innocent life (think of the children!)?
Posted by StuckInUtah on June 16, 2010 at 8:14 PM · Report this
25
As a bioethicist, I am thoroughly disgusted to hear about this and have alerted my colleagues to this egregious violation of ethics. I am deeply opposed to the position taken by some that "some circumcision" of female genitals are acceptable in America to avoid more severe mutilation overseas (yes, I am against non-medical circumcision of all children, male and female, since they cannot consent). This shows the disturbing approaches and assumptions made by many in the medical community, and Dan's caution about lesbians and enlarged clitorises is right on the mark.

Thank you, Dan, for posting on this.
Posted by MemeGene on June 16, 2010 at 8:17 PM · Report this
Delishuss 26
Dan! I second 18! Who do we call?
Posted by Delishuss on June 16, 2010 at 8:21 PM · Report this
Fnarf 27
Child rape, child mutilation. I am absolutely stunned. Who does this freak work for? He's got a department and a department head. He's got staff, nurses, everything. All of these people should be held accountable.

It is absolutely no exaggeration to call this Nazi medicine.

Weill Medical Collge needs to be thoroughly examined from head to toe to find out what the hell is going on and who knew about it. All of these people need to be censured if not actually imprisoned. Dix Poppas needs to never see the sky again.

The other two doctors are women: Jennifer Yang, Diane Felson. WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING?
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on June 16, 2010 at 8:23 PM · Report this
venomlash 28
Fucking hell.
Posted by venomlash on June 16, 2010 at 8:28 PM · Report this
college dude from madison 29
Goddammit this is depressing. Even *if* the science here *was* "good science'' this would still be just fucking horrifying and sad.
Posted by college dude from madison on June 16, 2010 at 8:29 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 30
I'm going to be sick. I have two little girls myself.

Confluence is one of the worst hack commenters polluting SLOG these days, Canuck. Don't encourage her.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 16, 2010 at 8:32 PM · Report this
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on June 16, 2010 at 8:35 PM · Report this
Delishuss 32
Thanks, Fnarf. I and every doctor friend I have are on it.
Posted by Delishuss on June 16, 2010 at 8:36 PM · Report this
33
Thanks @31. I just sent that link as well as the article link to all my teacher and social worker friends.
I haven't felt this disgusted and infuriated since I watched Mississippi Burning. Time for a good, long run. Uphill.
Posted by StuckInUtah on June 16, 2010 at 8:45 PM · Report this
34
I'm for castrating this doctor, displaying him, using a vibrator on him, and asking him if he has sensations, then putting his scrotum in a vice and telling him to let them know, between 1-10, the level of pain. Cornell should be blackballed by the AMA (no pun intended) and DCFS should step in before corrective action is taken. Does he also shorten the shafts of little boys who may be too large for comfort? Who gave him this right. How many men are angry because the procedure to remove their foreskin was made by someone else! I've met quite a few! I am so enraged about this !!!!
Posted by Sage on June 16, 2010 at 8:46 PM · Report this
Geraldo Riviera 35
Terrible. I think a doctor cut off a bunch of shaft meat from my ding-dong, and I don't know why. I had no goddamn choice.
Posted by Geraldo Riviera on June 16, 2010 at 8:48 PM · Report this
36
An extremely minor point, but: If you're studying anything other than medicine at Cornell, this isn't happening on your campus in Ithaca. It's happening five hours away from your campus in New York City.
Posted by Big Red on June 16, 2010 at 8:49 PM · Report this
37
These girls weren't having their phalli mutilated instead of leaving them alone. They were having them probably slightly less mutilated, then tested so that future procedures will be proposed with accurate benefits, rather than having the standard-issue mutilation. For what it's worth. The paper describes pretty well how much gender-standardization surgeries totally suck right now and how weak research on sexual function has been. These guys might be child molesters, or they might be the only surgical team that actually gives a hoot whether the cosmetic clits they build work. Or both. Whatever.

The paper says "Phallus length was 1.0 to 4.5 cm (average 2.4)." I don't think that's enough to justify modifying a girl's genitalia, even if you've got an intense belief that surgery is justified to help kids fit in. I don't see how an inch-long clit/penis is going to affect your life much before you're sexually active.
Posted by Orsh on June 16, 2010 at 8:50 PM · Report this
Canuck 38
@30, thanks, Matt, will treat her as *unregistered.*

This gets even worse when you read the links, the doctor is the one deeming their little bodies "too big," and is performing the surgery at 3-6 months! Babies often seem to have somewhat exaggerated genitals, relative to their bodies, how could you even make a diagnosis at that age? I was reading a blog just now by a woman who identifies as intersex, and she says the medical community is so eager to put everyone into boxes, absolute male/absolute female, when there is plenty of gender *fluidity* out there. As with looking for a *cause* for gayness, this smacks of the arrogance of identifying something as needing fixing simply because it doesn't fit into an expected category. SO sad.
Posted by Canuck on June 16, 2010 at 8:50 PM · Report this
JvstinPhoenix 39
He was doing this to kids? That's creepy, messed up shit...
Posted by JvstinPhoenix on June 16, 2010 at 9:02 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 40
Gaaahhh!!!!

* shudder *
Posted by Reverse Polarity on June 16, 2010 at 9:05 PM · Report this
41
Jesi,
You can email the Dean of Weill Medical College, Antonio Gotto: dean@med.cornell.edu
Or Dr. Poppas himself: dpoppas@med.cornell.edu
You can also email University President, David Skorton: president@cornell.edu

You can find phone numbers and email addresses for all Cornell faculty here: http://cornell.edu/search/?q=&submit=go&…
Posted by Norym on June 16, 2010 at 9:08 PM · Report this
Neptune 42
It absolutely boggles my mind that any parent would allow their child to endure that.

When parents mistakenly make the decision to allow doctors to operate on an obviously intersexed newborn's genitals, I can understand how and why they might come to that decision (especially with doctors assuring them that it's "the way it's done"). But THIS? How any parent could knowingly take their young daughter into a building where a strange man was going to cut out chunks of her normally developed crotch and then annually rub it? Fuck that. No brochure or pamphlet could make that shit sound ok.

Shocking and disgusting. This asshole better be jobless ASAP. On my way to check if there's a page about ending this malpractice on Facebook.
Posted by Neptune on June 16, 2010 at 9:10 PM · Report this
Neptune 43
Update: I couldn't find any pages about this on Facebook. If anyone finds one or decides to make one, please link us!
Posted by Neptune on June 16, 2010 at 9:23 PM · Report this
brandon 44
Wait...WHAT!?

I thought they stopped doing this shit 40 years ago when all those quack surgeons tried to turn boys into girls cuz their penis's were too small, or were accidentally damaged? Theres even been a bunch of Dateline's, 20/20's, and 60 minutes on this shit!

And its happening at CORNELL?!?!?

Fuck the doctor, i want to know what the hell is going on in the ethics department and with the administration for allowing this shit to even be THOUGHT of, let alone practiced!

Doctors and administrators asses need to be on silver platters.
Posted by brandon on June 16, 2010 at 9:26 PM · Report this
petey 45
interesting how large penises in our society are glorified yet females who have "larger then average" clitorises need to be surgically altered to minimize the appearance. What's wrong with a larger then average clit?

I'm also a bit confused at how cutting someone's genitalia for purely aesthetic reasons somehow amounts to promoting "natural" growth. Promoting natural growth would be letting their clit grow as long and large as it pleases, that's natural.
Posted by petey on June 16, 2010 at 9:32 PM · Report this
46
I'm so glad Dreger's around and has found great colleagues (and friends) to help with this important work.
Posted by gloomy gus on June 16, 2010 at 9:33 PM · Report this
47
Excuse me while I go kill myself.
Posted by HT on June 16, 2010 at 9:54 PM · Report this
48
Again as a link. This is how to contact this piece of shit excuse for a medical professional/researcher here:

http://www.weillcornell.org/dppoppas/

All phone numbers, etc.
Posted by olechka on June 16, 2010 at 9:56 PM · Report this
macavitykitsune 49
Posted on my blog, spreading it around livejournal as soon as I find out how. This is sick, sick, evil, EVIL shit and I was retching by the time I finished reading. Thanks for letting us know, Dan. Fuck...fucking hell.
Posted by macavitykitsune on June 16, 2010 at 9:57 PM · Report this
50
WHAT. THE. FUCK.
Posted by amazonvera on June 16, 2010 at 10:08 PM · Report this
TVDinner 51
Jesus. I just had a rough day looking after my four-month-old little girl and was settling down to the Slog for some R&R.

Think I'll go and hold her a little longer.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on June 16, 2010 at 10:08 PM · Report this
Doctor Memory 53
#16 for the win. Obviously Poppas and his coworkers needs to be stopped, but that's not the half of it. Every single person on Cornell's IRB needs to lose their job, their accreditation, their tenure if they have it, their fellowships, their grants and their career: forever. Ditto the department head, and frankly same for the Dean and the President. Anyone with direct knowledge of this should be looking for another line of work, if not facing charges.
Posted by Doctor Memory http://blahg.blank.org on June 16, 2010 at 10:13 PM · Report this
kim in portland 52
No. No. NO! How could they? How could they do that to little girls?
Posted by kim in portland http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/fast-paced_video_provides_a_fu.html on June 16, 2010 at 10:13 PM · Report this
Telsa 54
Many of you here seem to respond with stunning shock and dismay.

That's good, but that's not even the beginning. Maybe it's just the experiences of people I've known over the years, but non-consensual genital mutilation has been going on like this — and slipping past ethics committees at respected academic institutions — for a terribly long time. None of this reads as novel to me, and perhaps this is one of the shitty things about having an ear to the ground as a transsexual person and knowing the people I have over the past twenty years.

Considering the myriad of good folk (and some, alas, very twisted by said experiences) I've known over the years who were mutilated (and traumatized) by surgeons, sexologists, and their ilk without informed consent, this reads like another chapter on the FGM/IGM/MGM oeuvre of debate pertaining to kids' tender bits and who has the right to fuck with them — irrespective the reason or rationale.

Poppas is effectively another from the crop which sprouted John Money in the 1960s and 1970s. The problem here, Dan et al, is that none of these names dropped in this entry have clean hands — not Alice Dreger, not Kenneth Zucker, and not a slew of others closely connected to these names which were not mentioned here.

Zucker, for instance, contends vehemently that transsexuality can be "cured" in kids so that they somehow stop being transsexual as they get older. This is as absurd as trying to "cure" homosexuality. It freaks me out that Zucker is not only affiliated with CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, formerly the Clarke Institute), but also Sick Kids Hospital.

Dreger, meanwhile, harmfully classifies intersex body features as a "disorder". She is a close faculty colleague as the hack of a researcher, J. Michael Bailey, at Northwestern. Use this as a springing board to read more on the two of them. There is no shortage of nastiness about this rabbit hole.

In short, I wouldn't call it comfort that finally people are seriously sitting up and taking notice to these continued "research projects" — and funded with grants, no less — to explore the pathology of sex, sexuality, and sexual identity in the most innocent of people: kids lacking level power over their body. I'd call it "too little, too late". Poppas has no place within the academic realm, just as Money, Zucker, Blanchard, Dreger, and others don't, either.

Dan, I applaud you for drawing attention to the extremely questionable ethics about Poppas, but you're really only touching on the tip of a very dangerous, very nasty iceberg.

Here's what everyone should walk away with:

1) Tinkering with the tender bits of any body, without informed consent of the individual whose body hosts those tender bits, has no place in the medical oeuvre.

2) "Sexology" is as dubious a discipline as phrenology

3) All of the incestuous peers in the sexology realm — all the names cited above — should not only not be taken seriously, but also not permitted to continue their "research" in any respectable academic institution or teaching hospital. They are all caustic.

Next time, I'll do this without a bunch of Dragonstooth Stout in my bloodstream.
More...
Posted by Telsa on June 16, 2010 at 10:20 PM · Report this
ScaryMara 55
I started a group on Facebook. Get the word out everybody.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=13…
Posted by ScaryMara on June 16, 2010 at 10:24 PM · Report this
56
My jaw dropped as I read this post....I am beyond disgusted that this is true and still happening. Anywhere but here in the US, and at Cornell? Doing the surgery in the first place is wrong, and what is "normal" sexual developement anyways? This is pedophilia to the worst degree, the whole vibrator testing bullshit is proof of that. I don't care if it's for "medical" reasons or if the parents are present, doing this annually is repeated systematic molestation. That doctor is a sicko and should be stopped. As I woman and soon to be mother of a baby girl I am totally outraged and sickened by this information.
Thank you to poster #41 for those contacts, I think this is one I will have to speak up about.
Posted by enoneo on June 16, 2010 at 10:27 PM · Report this
Cherry Pirate 57
You know, everything about this I would argue is reasonable IF and only IF (and this, for anyone who has been through an ethics board, is the crucial point) the expected benefits of the study outweigh the risks. There are lots of things that seem heinous and invasive on paper (electroshock therapy for depression) that, if people were educated, wouldn't be so shocking (no pun intended). However, I simply see no justification for this at all. I suppose I need to read the paper before i pass judgement as journalists are notoriously bad at reporting on scientific articles, but I just see no purpose to cutting away tissue. At least for male circumcision has some, albeit questionable and sketchy, research to support it having health benefits. What could possible be the support for cutting away the glans? In children no less. If this was research for cosmetic purposes, then why not in adults? I urge people to be slow to pass judgement, but some things don't match up here.
Posted by Cherry Pirate on June 16, 2010 at 10:30 PM · Report this
58
I find this story appalling.
I find that I agree with much of the comment here. 4 and 25's comments are especially resonant for me. Learning from 37 that this might be thought of as serving to minimize the harm caused by the mutilation...I suppose that I could imagine someone holding that point of view if they first accepted that the mutilation was justified. I don't accept it at all. Instead this whole thing fills me with rage. I hope (probably vainly) to see an end to child genital mutilation, of all sorts, in my lifetime.
Posted by BeenCut on June 16, 2010 at 10:31 PM · Report this
Cory 59
I hope somebody punches this guy in the face a couple times.
Posted by Cory on June 16, 2010 at 10:32 PM · Report this
Canuck 60
God, Telsa, that article you linked to is incredible, how have we become so divorced from our instincts as parents that we would allow a *doctor* to instruct us in child abuse? How could the mother in that article witness her son's extreme pain and ignore it, it boggles the mind. No wonder he attempted suicide later.
Posted by Canuck on June 16, 2010 at 10:37 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 61
Where are the SPD when you need them?
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on June 16, 2010 at 10:38 PM · Report this
lark 62
Dan,
This is absolutely awful. This is FGM, plain and simple. I can't believe it is being practiced under the guise of "medicine". Please doctors leave the girls alone.
Posted by lark on June 16, 2010 at 10:47 PM · Report this
a.james 63
I`m glad to see the tradition of sexual shaming, exhibition, and molestation of children with non-`conforming`genitals is still going strong.

We need to yell about this. Kick a fuss and never let it die until every last boy with a small penis, girl with a large clitoris, and child with ``ambiguous`` genitalia is protected from surgeon-quack-fucks like these and allowed to grow up healthy, unashamed, and able to make choices about their own bodies.
Posted by a.james on June 16, 2010 at 10:48 PM · Report this
john t 64
Sickening. Unbelievable.
Posted by john t on June 16, 2010 at 10:51 PM · Report this
Telsa 65
@60: Check out what John Money did to David Reimer. Calling that a "human tragedy" is damning what happened with faint condemnation. Reimer completed his own suicide.

Some of you might have heard me mention Anne "The Manne" Lawrence before. S/he's the scary man-in-a-dress who has fucked everything up for a lot of transsexual people. Lawrence is not only based in Seattle and was investigated for molesting a patient under anaesthesia in 1997 (with Lawrence-as-then-anaesthesiologist), but is also a self-asserted sexologist who has worked with J. Michael Bailey (at Northwestern) and Ray Blanchard (at Toronto's CAMH).

I cannot overstate how big a rabbit hole this is. All of these people are poison, and yes, not only does it reach Toronto, Chicago, Baltimore, and Ithaca, but also Seattle.
Posted by Telsa on June 16, 2010 at 10:59 PM · Report this
34x42 66
i can't believe what i just read. really!?! methinks this man is in for a shitstorm.
Posted by 34x42 on June 16, 2010 at 11:00 PM · Report this
Telsa 67
@62: No. Please doctors, leave all the kids alone.
Posted by Telsa on June 16, 2010 at 11:03 PM · Report this
68
What could be going through these parents' heads??? I will add to the multitudes on this one and say: Genital mutilation is WRONG on girls OR boys!
Posted by Alea on June 16, 2010 at 11:06 PM · Report this
69
Does anyone know a major donor (he'll, any donor) to Cornell? Any alumni? Alums voices on this would be helpful. Speak up, let the alumni association president know you'd like this practice stopped and that you'll encourage other alums to pull support unless something is done.
Posted by Outraged on June 16, 2010 at 11:19 PM · Report this
Jesse Vernon 70
@Tesla, I'm glad you mentioned John Money—this story reeks of him and the medical precedents he facilitated. And of course, invasive, nonconsensual medical procedures are not new to a whole lot of people. In the late '60s/early '70s, Money "treated" twins, one of whom had a botched circumcision that burned off the penis. Money's thoughts on gender echoed a larger cultural assumption that it was inconceivable for someone to live as a man without a penis, so he advised that the child be raised as a girl—with his, er, help:
The genital inspections that Dr. Money demanded [the twins] perform were central to his theory of how children develop a sense of themselves as a boy or girl—and thus, in Money's mind, crucial to the successful outcome of Brenda's sex reassignment. For as Money stressed in his writings of the period,
The firmest possible foundations for gender schemas are the differences between male and female genitals and reproductive behavior, a foundation our culture strives mightily to withhold from children. All young primates explore their own and each others' genitals, masturbate, and play at thrusting movements and copulation—and that includes human children everywhere, as well as subhuman primates. The only thing wrong about these activities is not to enjoy them.

But the children did not enjoy these enforced activities—particularly those involving "play at thrusting movements and copulation," which Brian recalls that Dr. Money first introduced when the twins were six years old. Money, he says, would make Brenda assume a position on all fours on his office sofa and make Brian come up behind her on his knees and place his crotch against her buttocks. Variations on the therapy included Brenda lying on her back with her legs spread and Bryan lying on top of her. On at least one occasion, Brian says, Dr. Money took a Polaroid photograph of them while they were engaged in this part of the therapy.*

What became of the twins? Drug overdose and suicide.

*from John Colapinto's As Nature Made Him, which is chock full of misconceptions about gender, but at least tells the story.
More...
Posted by Jesse Vernon on June 16, 2010 at 11:32 PM · Report this
Telsa 71
@70: David Reimer is the Money-mutilated twin from Winnipeg I referred to in @65. Given when he wrote it, John Colapinto did an OK job of conveying that David endured, but he approached it the way a writer from Rolling Stone would: like an assignment curiosity. Colapinto wrote naïvely and with a morbid fascination. But in February 2000, when the book was published, it was the best one could hope for.

On this "sexology" note, when can we kick Anne "The Manne" Lawrence out of Seattle, people?
Posted by Telsa on June 16, 2010 at 11:43 PM · Report this
72
@54 "2) "Sexology" is as dubious a discipline as phrenology"

Can be, often is, doesn't have to be.
Posted by i somewhat agree, but there should still be value there on June 16, 2010 at 11:49 PM · Report this
a.james 73
To all the people wondering how parents could "do this" to their children: These doctors frequently chastise and insist upon the surgeries, claiming that without the invasive medical procedures and humiliating follow-up exams, the children will grow up somehow feeling monstrous, freakish, sexually dysfunctional, and ultimately loveless. The surgery is the first and last hope for the children to have "normal" sexual lives. Lives where their sex is chosen for them and the amount of sexual stimulation that is "acceptable" determined based on the steadiness of a surgeon's hand.
Parents are scared and confused, they just went through the trial of pregnancy and early child-rearing to have someone with a bunch of letters tell them their child is not "normal" and it must be fixed immediately. In some cases, parents aren't given the choice, the surgery to alter or "normalize" their children was mandatory.
We trust doctors. Culturally, we have to, it's not hard for a doctor to convince someone, especially a worried parent, that a procedure is necessary, especially when they claim it holds the child's future happiness and ability to conform in society is at stake. Ultimately, the procedure is useless and meaningless and scars the family more than raising the child without the bother would have...which has been reported by personal anecdotes countless times. Which, if it shows anything, it reveals how callous and greedy these doctors are, no mater how many trumped-up claims they make.
So, I imagine this isn't any easier for the parents.
Posted by a.james on June 16, 2010 at 11:54 PM · Report this
Telsa 74
@72: Okay, fine. If not phrenology, then physiognomy.

All, coupled with "sexology", are a pseudoscience — all beaugus.
Posted by Telsa on June 16, 2010 at 11:56 PM · Report this
Telsa 75
@73: h/t for a lot. Merci.
Posted by Telsa on June 17, 2010 at 12:00 AM · Report this
76
This man is a nazi.
Posted by Alex Kaa on June 17, 2010 at 12:37 AM · Report this
77
How is this particularly different from male circumcision? I ask not because I am not horrified by this, but because I think that the act of circumcision is just as awful a surgery to do to a child who is unable to consent, yet somehow we accept it blindly, because it's written in a book of fairtales from over 2000 years ago that it's a good idea.
Posted by elli on June 17, 2010 at 12:50 AM · Report this
Rev.Smith 78
I'd say I threw up in my mouth a little, reading this horror story, BUT my jaw was on the floor so the vomit landed on my keyboard instead.

I scooped it up and I'm packaging it up and mailing some of it to Cornell U.

Then emailing Obama about this. Because oil spills can wait: this shit? gotta stop now.
Posted by Rev.Smith on June 17, 2010 at 1:00 AM · Report this
Sandiai 79
I love my Dan.
Posted by Sandiai on June 17, 2010 at 1:48 AM · Report this
Sandiai 80
Thanks for putting this out there.
Posted by Sandiai on June 17, 2010 at 1:53 AM · Report this
81
Just, what in the everloving fuck. You better talk about this on your podcast and in your next column, Dan. This sick fuck needs to be stopped, like, YESTERDAY.
Posted by planned barrenhood on June 17, 2010 at 2:48 AM · Report this
82
@77 - wow, it took 77 posts for someone to point out that it's worse for the menz. Normally it's up around post 10.

Also, I just don't GET why they're doing this surgery in the first place. I have a big clit and nobody, female or male, has ever had any problems with it. Hubby thinks it's pretty hot when I get hard for him.
Posted by missy on June 17, 2010 at 3:00 AM · Report this
83
OMFG, this is disturbing on so many levels. I thought I couldn't get more outraged or creeped out after reading that a guy was hacking off chunks of girls genitals, and then you go and tell us that he pokes the mutilated bits with vibrators. WTF a thousand times.

How is this legal? How did this make it past the ethics panel? How was this reviewed and accepted for publication without an outcry? What the fuck?!
Posted by Lynx on June 17, 2010 at 3:23 AM · Report this
84
Who do we write/call/email? Cornell should be susceptible to mass public pressure.
Posted by gingerandlemon on June 17, 2010 at 4:34 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 85
@ 84, see @ 31, 41, 48, and 55.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 17, 2010 at 5:06 AM · Report this
Anne in MA 86
@ 73 - Thank you for this thoughtful, critical post. You're absolutely right - this is one of those cases where the responsibility ultimately lies with the doctor
Posted by Anne in MA on June 17, 2010 at 5:24 AM · Report this
singing cynic 87
Dear fucking god.
Posted by singing cynic on June 17, 2010 at 5:31 AM · Report this
julia09 88
I guess none of these doctors would be doing anything if the parents didn't consent.

yeah parents!
Posted by julia09 on June 17, 2010 at 5:42 AM · Report this
89
I don't understand why it is so hard to protect our children. They are our greatest resource and greatest joy yet we continually destroy and allow their destruction. These are babies, precious adorable babies who are being brutalized physically, emotionally and mentally in the name of science. Would this doctor perform this surgery on his own daughter? There is so much wrong with this. Who will protect these children? Not even their own parents it looks like.
Posted by Emma Petersen http://www.emmapetersen.com on June 17, 2010 at 6:06 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 90
@ 88, see @ 73.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 17, 2010 at 6:07 AM · Report this
91
Ugh, I think I'm going to be sick.

Tell me to march Dan. Tell me who to donate to. TELL ME WHAT I NEED TO DO TO HELP STOP THIS!
Posted by MaryM on June 17, 2010 at 6:17 AM · Report this
Timmytee 92
@31: Message sent. Thank you, Fnarf--and SLOG for posting this.
Posted by Timmytee on June 17, 2010 at 6:21 AM · Report this
93
How do 6 year olds get identified as having a larger than average clit? I honestly can't think what you'd be doing that would reveal that? Once it's revealed, what fucking parent brings them in for experimental surgery to cut a chunk of it off? Dan, I think you let the parents off the hook too much on this one.

As for why they do recurring visits, that I can understand. While I think the methods are totally unacceptable I don't know how else you would do it. You may not be able to reattach their cut off clit but you still want to identify if there are any long term complications with the surgery. If you fucked up this one girl you may not be able to fix her but at least you can change the way you do the surgery or just STOP DOING THE FUCKING SURGERY YOU SICK SICK FUCK once you've identified that it causes long term problems.
Posted by Root on June 17, 2010 at 6:21 AM · Report this
94
Call the Ithica field office for the FBI and report this CHILD ABUSE!!! Or print out this article and fax it to them and the Dept of Justice. That's what I did. You should too. This is child explotation for the sake of "research" both by the parents and the doctors involved. This is a fucking nightmare. Send the link to the local TV stations too.
FBI:
Room 317, Center Ithaca Building
171 E. State Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: (607) 272-6424
Fax: (607) 272-1550
Posted by Anon72 on June 17, 2010 at 6:26 AM · Report this
nb 95
According to the Psychology Today link, he didn't actually get IRB approval for the "sensory testing."

How come the article says Poppas had IRB (ethics oversight) approval and we suggest he probably didn't? Because what he has approval for is retrospective chart review, a harmless little look back at what he recorded in the charts as having happened to his patients. What he didn't do was to get approval in advance for the "clitoral sensory testing" that he was writing down in the chart and then used to produce the systematic and generalized conclusions about his technique.


The fact that he got approval for the mutilation is still sickening.

Posted by nb on June 17, 2010 at 7:00 AM · Report this
96
I must proclaim my hard-won disgust at this practice. I was mutilated as a 6 year old child, by my doctor, with my mother holding me down. The reason I was cut was due to a genetic anomaly where my labia sealed together, and had it been my choice, or MY DAUGHTER, I would certainly have approached the surgery differently. For one, I would have liked some anestesia, for two, I would have preferred a FEMALE doctor, who may not have been so anxious to brutalize a vagina. This incident when I was a small child did NOT HELP MY SEXUAL HEALTH. IN FACT, it has haunted me into my adulthood. I talk about it openly, which does help, but these terrorized young girls at Cornell have no voice yet to be heard, they are not adults, and their mothers are obviously swooned by some sort of compensation. Money? Drugs? What are the mothers being bribed with to sell their daughters into this macabre "study" where these procedures will damage their minds, hearts, bodies, and souls. CORNELL UNIVERSITY: I beg you, please, for the love of all that is right and good in the world, that this mangler, this alleged "doctor," must be STOPPED, his "study" halted, his work EXPOSED, and his consequences faced. I WANT THIS MAN IN JAIL>and I am not alone. Your sanction of these practices, as a University, is abhorrent to the core, and will be broadcast nationwide as an utter failing in your ethics department, a failure in your teaching methods, and a total failure in ACADEMIC SCIENCE. If Cornell University proports itself as a legitimate institution, it must adress this atrocity or face serious retribution. Everyone involved in this heinous crime should be called to account for their actions, in a courtroom. The "doctor," the board of Cornell, the MOTHERS of the children, and the students who participated in the "teaching efforts" of this mad scientist. I will be a voice among many, I am sure, but my story speaks for itself. As an American citizen I must protest the indignities being thrust upon these little ladies, and will add my petition to the throng for it to be STOPPED ONCE AND FOR ALL!
More...
Posted by Katie C. on June 17, 2010 at 7:06 AM · Report this
foolish-rain 97
For the love of god, please do something kinky and mindblowing with the next doctor you run into.

I have worked with young doctors for many years in a research setting. I continuously amazed at how sexually naive and inexperienced physicians usually are. This results from the combination of being academic grinds, straight arrows and totally career focused from adolescence on. Add in a healthy dose of arrogance and conformism and you get a picture of the average young docs mental framework about sex. It's a culture that results in someone like Poppas helping girls to be "normal"--his version of normal.
Posted by foolish-rain on June 17, 2010 at 7:22 AM · Report this
98
And if you're reading this and you're a student at Cornell: female genital mutilation is being practiced on your campus. What are you going to do about it?

What should I do about it?
Posted by Weill Cornell Grad Student on June 17, 2010 at 7:23 AM · Report this
Fenrox 99
I sent this to the New York Post. That paper is MADE for stories like this, If it gets front page, everyone in NYC will know about this.
Posted by Fenrox on June 17, 2010 at 7:34 AM · Report this
100
I am outraged and disgusted. I'm not that surprised about the doctor - there's some f**cked up people out there. But that Cornell University allows him to mutilate girls and parents are hiring him to mutilate their daughters - I'm stunned. What kind of parent is that obsessed with their girl's clits that they would do this? Seeking this kind of surgery should result in the termination of all parental rights. And Dr. Dix should lose his medical license and Cornell sued into oblivion.
Posted by Mrs. Musrum's Mum on June 17, 2010 at 7:35 AM · Report this
Moderate 101
Contact info for Dr. Dix Poppas:

Phone (212) 746-5337
Fax (212) 746-8065
525 East 68th Street
Suite F-935
New York, NY 10065
Posted by Moderate on June 17, 2010 at 7:38 AM · Report this
102
everyone seems so outraged that these surgeries are going on but they have been going on all over the country and have been for decades. a lot of parents are for their child looking normal. i mean how many have their male babies circumsized. where was your outrage before? yes these sensory tests are not the norm though and totally f_ed up. well now that you know this is happening, please tell your friends etc. cause this has been going on for decades and needs to stop.
Posted by Alex2679 on June 17, 2010 at 7:41 AM · Report this
103
Let's stop circumsizing men, while we're at it.

Seriously.
Posted by maxbell on June 17, 2010 at 7:42 AM · Report this
nb 104
Also, as a follow up to 73:

I imagine the parents also find it very easy to trust some one who "was chosen as one of the 'Top One Hundred Minimally Invasive Surgeons in New York' and was the only pediatric urologist to be selected and is listed as one of New York's Top Doctors and Best Doctors in America..." (here's his bio)

Actually, fuck that, he's still listed in New York Magazine as one of the "Best Doctors in New York" in the urology section.

Anyone else fancy a call to New York Magazine after that call to Cornell?
Posted by nb on June 17, 2010 at 7:42 AM · Report this
105
Girls born with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) are often born with ambiguous genitalia. These girls ( and they are XX with normal reproductive capabilities) make up the bulk of Dr. Poppas' patients. Make no mistake: there are other surgeons doing clitoral surgeries on other children all over the U.S. It's the standard of care.

Fortunately, since the mid 1990's there has been a dedicated (albeit small) army of patient advocates attempting to changing the ways medicine insists on molding bodies . Surgeons have changed their methods (for instance they didn't used to worry about nerves or sensation) and they've become more aware that not every large clitoris needs "normalizing". But the surgeries still go on... everyday... in great hospitals just like Cornell.

The debate rages on.
If you want to know more, if you want to get involved, if you have money to donate, if you want to tell every person you know about this unproven, experimental, homophobic, unnecessary and harmful STANDARD OF CARE, go to these organizations:

www.accordalliance.org
www.fetaldex.org
www.aiclegal.org
Posted by FirstDoNoHarm on June 17, 2010 at 7:46 AM · Report this
106
Thank you for posting this and raising awareness - this is outrageous! i'm an alumni who's written two very angry emails this morning, and i'm posting this on Facebook to get my fellow alumni involved.
Posted by anonymous outraged alum on June 17, 2010 at 7:48 AM · Report this
107
@98: Inform your fellow Cornell students and agitate to get his ass thrown off your campus. Get student publications to talk about this issue, make posters and flyers, circulate petitions, annoy the hell out of your administration by phone, fax, email, and in person. Talk to local and national media.

Also consider direct action such as blocking him from entering his office. Go on a rampage. This is worth it.
Posted by planned barrenhood on June 17, 2010 at 7:48 AM · Report this
108

As a woman born with CAH and a patient advocate working to change the way our bodies are mutilated, I urge you to go beyond your outrage and become a voice of reason.
Posted by FirstDoNoHarm on June 17, 2010 at 7:51 AM · Report this
HeinrichM 109
This is horrific!! Surely they can not justify this?
Posted by HeinrichM http://www.specialprayer.webs.com on June 17, 2010 at 7:53 AM · Report this
110
And to think the FIRST rule of medical practice is: "First do NO harm"!!! Clearly this "Dr", (can he even be called that, to me he's a brutal molester & pedophile), does NOT believe in causing NO harm but MAXIMUM damage!! Words just can not express the disgust & astonishment.
Posted by Maureen on June 17, 2010 at 7:54 AM · Report this
Serenity 111
Thanks Dan for bringing this subject to light (again). As Dreger mentions, the up-in-arms about the surgery being done is an ongoing fight - one that is making some progress but which still has a long way to go. Intersex children are still subjected to these mutilations EVERY DAY in THIS country all in an effort to "normalize" them. Many have asked how this can be allowed to happen, what is wrong with parents, etc. The answer is complicated.

As much as I abhor the practice of surgically changing intersex children, I do believe the practice comes from a combination of fear and an honest attempt to help. When a child is born different, parents panic, because our culture just doesn't talk about this kind of thing, so its almost always a shock when it happens and no one is properly prepared. Parents want what is best for their kids, and they go to doctors for help and are told "this is best" and so they do outrageous things, things that they would never do if they were so afraid and so panicked. Things that, when the child is old enough to know what happened and to have the obvious deep resentment and feelings of betrayal, will no doubt be regretted. This comes from so many sources, including homophobia, transphobia, and the simple fear of being different.

I'm intersexed (Partial Androgren Insensitivity Syndrome) and I was lucky enough to have had my large clitoris left intact rather than have the pervasive and harmful surgery that is usually done to people like me. In this country (and in many parts of the world), intersex people just don't count like normal people -- we are not acknowledged and our rights are simply forgotten. Consent doesn't come in to it, because parents and doctors go in with the idea that the ideal thing would be that we NEVER know what we are because they are going to "fix" us before we know.

That never works (of course it doesn't), and we have generations of people who are stigmatized, wounded (physically and emotionally), isolated, and in pain. We do what we can to make sure this doesn't happen to the next generation and reminders like this are vital to everyone that more work needs to be done, that more needs to be said, and that these practices have to stop.

Don't forget about this - keep it fresh in your mind. Stay outraged. Contact Cornell, tell people about it, and maybe you'll reach someone who is affected by this or will be - and they'll have more information and won't be so afraid and won't panic, and won't do something stupid and awful to an infant who has nothing truly wrong with them, only that they are different. No one has ever died from an enlarged clitoris and any reduction in sensation is too much reduction and the idea that these children need to be fixed is WRONG. Being different is GREAT and it does not need to be fixed, and we need the whole community to have a single voice that promotes these differences.
More...
Posted by Serenity on June 17, 2010 at 7:57 AM · Report this
112
Holy fuck. Holy fuck. I don't even know what to say. There aren't words. I know people say that as some kind of cliche, but I really don't know what to say. I'm so incredibly appalled. I feel dizzy. How can this be happening at a University in our country? How could this ever have been approved?
Posted by Lorran on June 17, 2010 at 8:20 AM · Report this
Arsenic7 113
I think some of the commentators are giving the parents of these kids a little too much benefit than they probably deserve. I wouldn't be surprised if many of these parents sought out surgeons to alter their children because they themselves felt their children's genitals were malformed or gross. It's not so surprising if you think about it, fathers who are circumcised will circumcises their own sons for no other reason than that they want their children to look like themselves. Same with female genital mutilation where mothers will force their daughters to undergo a terrible operation because they themselves did.

I agree with much of the outrage but I think the cultural hypocrisy is a little striking.
Posted by Arsenic7 on June 17, 2010 at 8:25 AM · Report this
114
"homologue of the penis"

Every bit, and some is, of this outrage should be directed at routine male circumcision as well. Vaginas and penises are rearrangements of the same tissues. Surgically altering one is analogous to altering the other.
Posted by geoffreyrascher on June 17, 2010 at 8:28 AM · Report this
mike from co 115
From the reading that I have done on genital mutilation, typically, a doctor comes to a parent at the time of birth and says, "There is an anomoly. This is an EMERGENCY! Sex assignment surgery needs to be performed immediately to avoid later problems in life. You must give permission to perform sex assignment surgery" Usually, sex assignment surgery assigns the wrong sex. I just saw middle sexes, redefining he and she. I got a copy from the library on DVD. Everyone should see it.
Posted by mike from co on June 17, 2010 at 8:29 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 116
@ 113, unless we talk to every parent, it's all speculation. I'm sure some are guilty of what you describe, while others are more like what @ 73 describe. Still others may be thinking things we haven't even conceived.

But the bottom line is that none of this would happen if there weren't doctors performing these "operations." First, blame the doctors.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 17, 2010 at 8:33 AM · Report this
Enjua 117
This type of infant genital mutilation must stop. Our society must accept and embrace variation in genitals. Instead, right now out society medicalizes our genitals, finds the mean of clit size, and them imbues that mean with a positive moral value and labels everyone on the tails of the distribution as messed up.

But this problem is not news. It is one of the evils of our society that future cultures will balk at, but it's been going on for decades and is still going strong. Culturally, we separate this "medical" mutilation from the genital mutilation that "those backwards tribes" do, and we hide the frequency and brutality of this practice from ourselves by considering it a private medical matter. The clit-reducing in the first place is the problem.

Doing a follow-up study on the practice is not the problem. Our culture over-signifies sex, and therefore makes it not OK for a doctor to see if the nerves in a clit still work. If we didn't over-signify sex, there wouldn't be anything inherently wrong with a doctor touching and vibrating parts of a girl's body to see if they still have sensation. I know a girl who had a bike accident and doctors following up on clit function. That made sense. At least when the surgery is being developed, shouldn't a doctor follow up on a cleft lip to test and see how much sensation is in the lip? My lips can be just as sexual as my clit. If you're going to cut it, you've got to check and see how it turned out later.

The problem is the cutting in the first place, not the existence of the exam.
Posted by Enjua on June 17, 2010 at 8:35 AM · Report this
Canuck 118
@117 While I agree that North Americans tend to be a little sex-phobic, it is a poor analogy to equate post cleft palate surgery testing with clitoral stimulation of 5 year olds.
"My lips can be just as sexual as my clit." Well, they're part of the sexual experience, but if you've orgasmed from using your lips alone, please send the video. Until then, try to understand that 5 year olds are not meant to be sexually stimulated with vibrators by adult men, no matter what those men call themselves.
Posted by Canuck on June 17, 2010 at 8:48 AM · Report this
mike from co 119
Why did it take 103 posts before someone (maxbell) actually got around to suggesting this?
Posted by mike from co on June 17, 2010 at 8:50 AM · Report this
120
Not only is the surgery wrong in the first place but the 'annual exams' after wards are also. The whole thing amounts to mutilation and peadophillia. Do the parents not realise that by being present they also come under the law that covers peadophillia and child abuse. By standing by and watching it occur they are culpable also. The only conclusion I can come to is that this 'doctor' is a sadist and a peadophile. There is no excuse for this sort of mutilation and abuse of such young girls, ever.
Posted by BrokenOphelia on June 17, 2010 at 8:53 AM · Report this
121
@111 Bravo! Especially the last sentence "Being different is GREAT and it does not need to be fixed, and we need the whole community to have a single voice that promotes these differences."

I've always believed one of the reasons society has so many people who are so fucked up is because of the obsession with what's 'normal'. I've never been 'normal'. Don't want to be.

The parents were duped by this sadist and their children will pay dearly for it.
Posted by capricorn44 on June 17, 2010 at 8:59 AM · Report this
Arsenic7 122
@119 because it's taboo to suggest such a thing and if one suggests that male-circumcision is in any way similar to these practices people will vehemently deny it because they themselves are circumcised and view it as dehumanizing to suggest they were mutilated, because they themselves had the procedure performed on their own kids, or because it's the only sort of penis they've ever known. I don't think it's nearly as morally dubious but it is a silly cultural hypocrisy.
Posted by Arsenic7 on June 17, 2010 at 9:05 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 123
Also, @ 119, that's a separate topic. Let's not hijack the thread, please.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 17, 2010 at 9:11 AM · Report this
124
God forbid we should be talking about something other than dicks, ever. That's what I have to say about this story of young girls being mutilated and abused: DICKS! DICKS AND THEIR DICKHAVERS HAVE DICK PROBLEMS!
Posted by planned barrenhood on June 17, 2010 at 9:19 AM · Report this
125
I'm against male circumcision on infants, but to be absolutely blunt, I don't like it when people bring up male circumcision in response to female circumcision. It ISN'T the same. Male circumcision doesn't put men at risk for being unable to orgasm the way female circumcision does. Barring some kind of accident, circumcised men don't have to say to their partners, "You know, I was circumcised as a child, and because of this, I can't get physical pleasure out of sex." People get upset about female circumcision BECAUSE of the risk that the women will be unable to have pleasurable sex lives.
Posted by Lorran on June 17, 2010 at 9:21 AM · Report this
126
For those speculating about the parents: How many of you were taught to be health care advocates for your partner or child? Did you have that class in high school? College? Nah, me neither. But I do advocate for my partner, and she for me, and what we run into in 90% of doctors is extreme resistance. They do not want their authority questioned. And I mean that literally: they do not want questions, especially from a person other than the patient. Doctors are invested in the American culture of medical authority, unquestioned.

So we aren't taught to advocate, live in a culture that frowns on it, and encounter resistance when we attempt it.

That is why babies are born in hospitals instead of the safer, healthier environment of home, and that is why most boys are victims of MGM (circumcision) with their parent's consent. And that may be why these girls are victims of FGM with their parent's consent.

Now, the outrage here is warranted, and this man must be stopped. But it is worth noting that the muted response to the same thing (granted, not the bizarre sexual stimulation follow-up) in males is a culturally-determined response. The little boys are equally traumatized, damaged, and un-consenting.
Posted by Janowitz on June 17, 2010 at 9:22 AM · Report this
127
Whatever happened to "First, do no harm"?

I have lichen sclerosis, a kin condition affecting the vulva, which can only be diagnosed by biopsy. The doctor who performed mine, when I was 8, asked for and received permission to "remove some extra skin, for research". He removed half of one side of my inner labia.

The resulting genital asymmetry and associated emotional trauma took me into my thirties to recover from. That was the labia, not the clitoris. I can barely imagine what those little girls are going to endure as they become women.
Posted by Somebody on June 17, 2010 at 9:22 AM · Report this
128
Odd how often posters comment on Poppas' looks in UrbanBaby:

http://www.urbanbaby.com/talk/posts/4452…

http://www.urbanbaby.com/talk/posts/5185…

http://www.urbanbaby.com/talk/posts/5176…

Think he's posting about himself?
Posted by SimplyAwful on June 17, 2010 at 9:30 AM · Report this
Arsenic7 129
I think the point is that talking about them as separate issues is silly, 124. Mutilating CHILDREN should be the issue, instead the response changes based on our messed up cultural views on sex, in both male and female cases.
Posted by Arsenic7 on June 17, 2010 at 9:34 AM · Report this
130
Telsa's attacks on Anne Lawrence are complete bullshit.

Alice Dreger—whose work Telsa is praising and endorsing here—unpacks, explains, and calls bullshit on the vengeful hate/spite campaign waged against Lawrence by Telsa and her ilk in this paper:

http://bioethics.northwestern.edu/facult…

Other Sloggers should read it—and Telsa should too. And she should be ashamed of herself, if she's capable of feeling shame.
Posted by Dan Savage on June 17, 2010 at 9:40 AM · Report this
131
I am very curious about the parents of these children. How can they justify this? It is commented on at the end of the article that this happens because some people believe that a larger clitoris leads to girls "going gay", but as a parent I would never put my child under the knife unless their life was in danger. I guess for some parents having a gay child endangers their children's lives, but I cannot imagine thinking that argument could justify mutilating a child's genitals. Especially when there is no proof that their child will or will not be gay.
It enrages me that any doctor would do this procedure to a child as it is more like plastic surgery than anything else; there is no medical or health reason anyone should have their clitoris cut into. But I find myself more upset at the parents of these girls! What would make any parent do this to a child?
Posted by dillemma on June 17, 2010 at 9:40 AM · Report this
Delishuss 132
@129 I do think that 125 has a valid point, although it would appear that Poppas' research is now trying to equalize both kinds of circumcision so that girls who are subjected to FGM don't "lose sensation." But doctors don't jack-off baby boys once a year to make sure their penises still work post-circumcision.
Posted by Delishuss on June 17, 2010 at 9:44 AM · Report this
lark 133
@67Tesla
Indeed, I neglected to mention boys. I don't believe boys should be circumcised either. BTW, I am aware of the Reimer case. What a sad story (a botched circumscion and then efforts to make him a girl/woman). I believe he commited suicide a few years ago.
Posted by lark on June 17, 2010 at 9:45 AM · Report this
134
http://www.facebook.com/people/Dix-Phill…
Posted by KLansing on June 17, 2010 at 9:48 AM · Report this
135
Does anyone know how to contact the County Prosecutor in Ithaca, NY? I work at a non profit that deals with kids and as such, I have a MANDATORY REPORTING RESPONSIBILITY under Washington law, and any of you out there who work in most any other non profit dealing with vulnerable persons HAVE THE SAME MANDATORY REPORTING RESPONSIBILITY - which is true in most states. This is clearly child sexual abuse and needs to be reported to the prosecutor.
Posted by ScreenName on June 17, 2010 at 10:02 AM · Report this
136
Okay, issues concerning homosexuality aside, this is absolutely disgusting. These guys are essentially cutting and raping little girls under the guise of "medical research." Tell me our tax dollars are NOT paying for this. Tell me charitable donations made by well-meaning citizens seeking to cure actual diseases are NOT paying for this. Tell me Cornell students' tuition money is NOT paying for this. These guys are no better than child molesters and serial killers. I hope they're criminally prosecuted for this.
Posted by Topside on June 17, 2010 at 10:09 AM · Report this
137
I want to know if there's more we can do beyond getting the word out, which admittedly is a good large portion of getting this mess stopped but good.
Posted by blah on June 17, 2010 at 10:15 AM · Report this
138
@135 Try emailing countyattorney@tompkins-co.org The district attorney doesn't list an email address, oddly. Is this the 80's? The phone numbers and street addresses for the county attorney and district attorney are listed here http://www.tompkins-co.org/departments/i…
Posted by it doesn't matter what my name is on June 17, 2010 at 10:19 AM · Report this
139
@138 bah, the comment system cut off my url. Go to http://www.tompkins-co.org and click on the 'departments' button on the top right corner to see the listings.
Posted by it doesn't matter what my name is on June 17, 2010 at 10:23 AM · Report this
140
@138 bah, the comment system cut off my url. Go to http://www.tompkins-co.org and click on the 'departments' button on the top right corner to see the listings.
Posted by it doesn't matter what my name is on June 17, 2010 at 10:23 AM · Report this
141
@129 I think understand what you are saying, but not all mutilation is the same. There are degrees of mutilation, and the degree to which female circumcision impacts females is so much greater than how male circumcision impacts males. Talking about them as separate issues isn't silly because they ARE separate issues. Although I think male infant circumcision is wrong, as 132 said, we don't do tests on circumcised males every year to make sure that their penises still work. Male circumcision doesn't routinely break male sexual function the same way female circumcision routinely breaks female sexual function. I'm sorry, but I think that to say these are the same issue is simply incorrect. To me, it's kind of like if a man started talking about how circumcision harmed him, and a woman started talking about how unhappy she was that her parents had pierced her ears when she was young (something I also don't like). It just isn't the same. The whole issue behind it is different. People oppose female circumcision because it routinely breaks female function. People oppose male circumcision for different (but still very valid) reasons.
Posted by Lorran on June 17, 2010 at 10:26 AM · Report this
julia09 142
@130:

Dan we read it. . . FFS, it's a book length treatise that boils down to "he said she said" veiled as an academic paper - bullshit.

yes there are slogers from all walks of life that have really 'effed up views, but the BBL + Lawrence + Alice Dreger 'effed up with the trans peeps - deal.

It's not just one person upset by this issue. . .

The only relevance this has to the Cornell article is that it's another example of academics and practitioners (and doctors) telling others what is and isn't normal about people who didn't ask them.

Sloggers should read the article, get to know the controversy and call bullshit on B.B. &L AND Dreger.

So I'll also counter your dare for peeps to read Dreger's article with Julie Serrano's http://www.juliaserano.com/TSetiology.ht…

-'cause if you want to know about trans peeps - fucking ask a trans peep.

We don't need more pathologies assigned to people.
Posted by julia09 on June 17, 2010 at 10:40 AM · Report this
143
I just read this. At my desk at work. And I started crying so hard I had to take a break. THIS. HAS. TO. STOP. RIGHT NOW!
Posted by visitor100 on June 17, 2010 at 10:49 AM · Report this
144
@141 I am afraid that you are very, very wrong. Your post is exactly why the public needs education on the issue of MGM. It is, in fact, strongly analogous to FGM in every way you mentioned: circumcision DOES routinely break male sexual function and penises ARE examined every year to ensure that they still work. And the trauma experienced by infant boys is as deeply scaring as that to infant girls—both are in perhaps the most sensitive period of development. And both procedures are practiced mainly for reasons based on myth and religion, not science and health.

There is two aspects that are different, but that you failed to mention: MGM is vastly more common than FGM; and males have more power in our society, creating a differential in the ability to resist and change. These are worth discussion. But the damage is equivalent, make no mistake.

I agree that these are separate issues, but not the the extent you claim. To compare MGM to ear piercing is extremely offensive—though I don't think you intended offense: But that comparison betrays your ignorance of the subject. You are attempting to minimize the damage of a procedure you don't understand and in the face of extensive research which contradicts your claims.

This issue is an issue for women, as much as for men, because educated mothers can stop the mutilation and trauma to their baby boys—and, frankly, they are more likely to become educated and stop the circumcision.

This particular case, that of Dr. Poppas, is notable for his strange follow-up practice, which apparently involves the sexual stimulation of babies and little girls. The procedure itself is not uncommon and stopping this doctor will not stop this kind of FGM. Rather, what is required is a broad educational and policy effort so that the culture changes, along the lines of @111, @117, and others. And, of course, a continued international effort to address the broader problem.

Which is exactly what is required in the case of MGM, for—yes—the same reasons.

@123 has a point, but was able to make it without the inaccurate information that you posted. Which required a response. Which has been too long and for which I apologize.

We can keep the issues separate without minimizing either.
More...
Posted by KLansing on June 17, 2010 at 10:52 AM · Report this
julia09 145
Sorry - angry typing @ 142

B.B.L. = "Bailey, Blanchard and Lawrence" adding Lawrence again is redundant.

And it's "Serano."

Dan, really - ask any moderately informed trans peep about his issue and see what they say.
Posted by julia09 on June 17, 2010 at 10:55 AM · Report this
146
At first read, this struck me as just as insane as with the rest of the commenters. But can someone find out exactly what is meant by an "enlarged clitoris" in this paper?

If the girls in this study had really, really big ones that kept rubbing and causing them a lot of pain and discomfort... well, I could potentially see why a surgery now rather than when they are over 18 *might* make sense. I did a google search and there were some message boards with concerned parents whose daughters had a lot of pain/discomfort from what they called an "enlarged clitoris".

It would be good to know more about the type of cases that do get operated on if possible, rather than just pass immediate judgement the operations when we don't completely understand them.

But yeah, not sure how one could justify the annual "check ups". That sounds really bizarre...
Posted by NoOneSpecial on June 17, 2010 at 10:56 AM · Report this
147
All medical research needs to be approved by a University's IRB (their Institutional Review Board). This board consists of non-medical and/or medical people (usually members of the community who volunteer to review research proposals) who are required to weight the safety, benefit, and potential harm of the proposed research. I can't imagine how this made it past Cornell's IRB. If you would like to see this doctor stopped, his research halted, and/or disciplinary action taken, I recommend contacting Cornell's IRB and demanding that they look into this matter. Here is their contact information:

Contact Information
Matthew Aldridge
Sr. IRB Administrator
t: 607-255-6182

Susan Lewis
IRB Administrator
t. 607-255-5138

East Hill Office Building
395 Pine Tree Road, Suite 320
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14850

f. 607-255-0758
e. irbhp@cornell.edu
Posted by Dr. Citizen on June 17, 2010 at 10:57 AM · Report this
pales 148
I "liked" Cornell University on Facebook and posted the link to Dan's blog. I'm sure it will be deleted shortly...
Posted by pales on June 17, 2010 at 11:01 AM · Report this
Arsenic7 149
I agree, Lorran, my comments were more aimed at some of the outraged statements of the other commentators than they were at the terrible program this doctor was putting little girls through. Many of the comments were simply "how dare we change what was given to these girls by nature" which, I think, is not really what should be focused on so much as the cruelty of the practices involved.

But perhaps I am drawing too many parallels than is appropriate for this particular discussion.
Posted by Arsenic7 on June 17, 2010 at 11:02 AM · Report this
150
And to see the critera that Cornell's IRB should have been using to evaluate Dr. Poppas' research by, please check out their website:

Cornell Universtiy IRB

This is from their website:
"Cornell University operates a Human Research Protection Program to protect the rights and welfare of individuals who volunteer to participate in the research mission of the University. While the ultimate responsibility for the treatment of all human participants in research rests with the individual researcher (faculty, students, or staff) who has been given the privilege to conduct research with humans, the Institutional Review Boards exist as a safeguard to promote the ethical and responsible treatment of human participants in research, by conducting scientific and ethical review of research studies while providing education and guidance for the research community."
Posted by Dr. Citizen on June 17, 2010 at 11:09 AM · Report this
151
After a bazillion comments already posted, this one is probably unnecessary, and won't even be read, but...

A certain number of children have outsize features of one sort or another, THAT THEY WILL GROW INTO! A big clit on a tiny kid might end up being a normal clit on the big girl that she becomes in a decade or so. Cosmetic surgery on a tiny kid is bizarre in general, unless it's for a developmental defect like a hare lip. Purely cosmetic genito-urologic surgery on infants is plain old unforgivable.

I wonder if this quack butcher even bothers to check the genetic sex of the kids he's cutting? Some of those overlarge clitorises might not even be clitorises, but might belong to someone who's intersexed, and who might very well want to try to transition to male later on.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on June 17, 2010 at 11:17 AM · Report this
152
Also contact the editor of The Lancet - richard.horton@lancet.com. This article underwent peer review so at least three other docs thought it was OK as did the editor. The whole thing makes me sick!

Posted by RHM on June 17, 2010 at 11:21 AM · Report this
153
This is what I sent to the Dean of Cornell's med college

Dear Dr. Gotto,

I am a MA student of archaeology, and an avid reader of Dan Savage’s blog. Perhaps you’ve heard of his sexual advice column, Savage Love? Today when I was reading his daily blog, I noticed an article about female genital mutilation being performed at Cornell University. At first I thought it was some elaborate joke, but upon reading the article I found that there is actually a licensed physician, one Dr. Poppas, that is operating on the clitoral tissues of young girls to reduce them to “normal” sizes.

As the dean of a medical college I assume you are well aware that in infants and young children genital size can vary almost to extremes and the ultimate size of the organs will not be known till the end of adolescence. I am shocked that you and your ethics review board allows such operations on girls who are at least a decade away from the end of puberty.

Additionally, I am sure that either you, or the top gynecologist on your board is also aware that each woman’s response to clitoral stimulation is just as different from woman to woman. The clitoral glans is usually the “best” part to stimulate, but that is not the case in every woman. Cutting away pieces of the sides of the clitoris to shorten it is somewhat akin to removing parts of the shaft of a man’s penis. Imagine a man trying to achieve orgasm without being able to stimulate the shaft of his penis! Such an operation would be considered ludicrous, so why is your college condoning it for young girls?

Also, the glans of some womens’ clitorises are so sensitive they cannot stand direct contact. It would be unfortunate for a woman to go through life not being able to achieve orgasm because she couldn’t bear direct stimulation, but was lacking the natural tissues that would have allowed indirect stimulation to work. While it may be commendable to examine what parts of an adult woman’s clitoris does what in a properly undertaken medical study so that we can gain a better understanding of sex and stimulation, cutting children and following up to see how it has affected their lives is not only different, but morally wrong and a clear violation of every American’s right to “the pursuit of happiness.”

What shocks me most, however, is that this Dr. Poppas uses a vibrator to stimulate the remaining clitoral tissues of these girls while they are conscious and asks them to rate the amount of feeling they have left on a scale of 1 to 5! It is never, and I repeat, NEVER appropriate for a grown man to stimulate a six year old girl’s clitoral tissues and ask her if she can “feel” anything. I don’t care if the parents have given their consent; it is child abuse and needs to be stopped immediately.

I read that Dr. Poppas insists his research ensures “normal sexual development” and I must reiterate that normal development cannot be measured till puberty ends. I believe he also believes that larger than “normal” clitorises lead to lesbianism? That alone should disqualify him from working at a university as prestigious and upstanding as Cornell. Blatant homophobia and pseudoscience worthy of the Nazi regime have no place in the scientific world, and I recommend you cull his work immediately, or run the risk of having every discovery and advancement made in your college shaded with doubt reflected from Poppas’ dubious “work”. How are these girls to grow up as sexually normal when their parents were so unhappy with the girls’ genitals they forced their girls to undergo surgery at a young age? How are they supposed to understand appropriate sexual boundaries when an old man stimulated their genitals once a year whether they protested or not? How are they supposed to learn what makes them happy when parts of their clitoris have been removed and what’s left may be too sensitive or not sensitive at all?

I must demand that you remove Dr. Poppas and his staff from their work at once. Female genital mutilation is unacceptable no matter where it is practiced, and to practice it in a “free” country under the ideal of “sexual normalcy” is absolutely appalling.

In taking the Hippocratic oath you pledged to “apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures that are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.” You also swore to “remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.” Do you not have an obligation to those little girls that are being mutilated? To their minds, which will be clouded with doubt, fear, and the pain of their parents’ (and by extension, the world’s) disapproval? To their bodies, which may not function as they would have, and disappoint both them, and the life partners they could have had a happy and productive relationship with?
The abominations practiced by Dr. Poppas and his staff are so removed from the oaths they took that I’m appalled they haven’t lost their licenses yet.

I hope that you will consider what I have said.
Sincerely,
Carla Pereira, B.A.
More...
Posted by ladyrockess on June 17, 2010 at 11:33 AM · Report this
154
@135, 138: CORNELL MEDICAL SCHOOL IS NOT IN ITHACA! (Sorry for the ass-caps, but I'm hoping to get some people's attention. Dan, if you could put a damn note to this effect in the post, that would be great.) The main campus of Cornell is in Ithaca, but the Medical School is in New York City. None of this is happening in Ithaca.
Posted by christopher on June 17, 2010 at 11:42 AM · Report this
155
Why is this being allowed? Who are the totally fucked up parents that are doing this? I think the fathers should be put onto the table and have their penis downsized to a more comfortable and natural fit, and while we are at it, why not take away their testes so that they can truly experience what life is like with no sensation. OH, and let's not stop there - let's start a new reality show parading these dumb-ass dad's and equally fucked up mothers naked before the television making them have to bare all for the world to see how "normal" they now look. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH HUMANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by bientot1 on June 17, 2010 at 11:48 AM · Report this
156
Agreeing with post #154. Both Weill Cornell College and its teaching hospital, New York-Presbyterian, are located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Posted by Larry Velázquez on June 17, 2010 at 11:55 AM · Report this
157
This is a standard treatment for girls born with congenital adrenal hyperplasia - a serious life-long condition that does not just cause an extremely enlarged and often nonfunctional clitoris, but can also cause the growth of male pattern hair (facial hair, back hair, etc), infertility, and death. Furthermore, the doctors used a biothesiometer - not a vibrator. The 'vibrations' from a biothesiometer are extremely hard for the human nervous system to even detect and are used to establish the threshold sensitivity of a nerve.
Posted by hayley23 on June 17, 2010 at 12:04 PM · Report this
158
@144 I’m sorry, but what you are saying is completely different than anything I’ve ever heard before. I’ve looked at research about male circumcision, and even the most-anti-male circumcision research doesn’t say that male circumcision and female circumcision are even close to being on the same level. I’ve never even heard of a circumcision that didn’t go wrong (for example, by cutting off the whole end of the penis instead of the foreskin) that made it so men couldn’t achieve sexual orgasm. Where are you getting this information? What research supports what you are saying? I would like to look at it.

And you misunderstood my comparison. I’m saying that comparing female circumcision to male circumcision is like comparing male circumcision to ear piercing. Is male circumcision on the same level as ear piercing? Of course not. But I hold that male circumcision isn't on the same level as female circumcision, either.

@149 I do agree there are all kinds of reason that infant male circumcision is wrong. I really wish more people would become educated about what it is and what it does. I find it odd that we live in a culture that frowns on fully adult women getting breast implants (they should love their body as it is! Impairing function to look better is bad!) but then routinely circumcises male infants because of things like appearance and a desire for the boy to not face potential negative social stigma (aka, teasing). It’s so strange.
Posted by Lorran on June 17, 2010 at 12:08 PM · Report this
159
I sent a note where #31 indicated. These trashy pedophiles call themselves physicians?
Disgusting!
Posted by Emilyblahblahblah on June 17, 2010 at 12:08 PM · Report this
Telsa 160
@130: Dan, I see how you didn't read a bloody word I wrote. I was not praising Alice Dreger. Do entertain me and go back to point out where I gave her the thumbs-up. I'm all ears.

And I'm quite sorry, but of all the people who might chime in on this, you are patently unqualified to speak to Anne Lawrence's credibility with any, well, credibility (shall we bring up Rob McKenna again? No. I'll spare all of us).

As a cissexual gay man in Seattle who has nearly complete run of wherever you want to go and whatever you want to do (including where you want to have a general exam with a doctor of your choosing), you would have no direct, first-hand knowledge of the destructive, crippling grip Mr(s). Lawrence has exacted on non-cissexual people for the better of the last 13 years — both in Seattle and throughout North America (where the web is a very accessible place). Lawrence is nothing shy of a human pitcher plant — attracting unsuspecting, innocent people with hope of knowledge and care, and instead, they're emotionally burnt by a very sick, twisted . . . uhm, man.

I won't even dignify "doctor" for someone who got nailed by the State of Washington in 1997 for molesting a patient on a table at Swedish under Lawrence's own administering of anaesthesia without any prior patient consent — much less the extremely creepy, extremely troublesome obsession with touching and examining every single genital alteration on which s/he can put grubby paws. Absent a title like "doctor", this behaviour is basically criminal sexual assault. But with that title, trust is given by the patient, and Lawrence demonstrably uses that to satisfy whatever fetish s/he has.

The list of people I personally know — and some quite well — who have been traumatized by Lawrence steadily grows. Some years, I hear nothing, but then the following year, I'll hear about three more people. And yes, I have most certainly had the (mis)fortune of meeting Lawrence. It's like looking into the eyes of Skeletor. Fortunately, I knew enough by then to steer clear of her. Others? Not as lucky.

So Dan, your input on this topic about Lawrence and this entire oeuvre of "sexology" (and the related specialists like endocrinologists and urologists who take sexology with more than a grain of salt, such as Poppas) is really out of your league, your jurisdiction and, frankly, beyond your realm of knowledge or personal life experiences.

I'd be happy to take this up with you either here or in private. But rather than play the politics of who you know (and with what clout), why not hear out from those directly (and negatively) impacted by the harm someone like Anne Lawrence has wrought on intersexed and transsexual people? Oh, wait. They've no credibility in your mind. Got it.

Lawrence is the primary reason why a transsexual woman (and in one notable case, an intersexed woman) can't even get an exam by a doctor at any clinic in Seattle — including the once-respectable County Docto — without being told to "go to a gender clinic", whatever that means. This isn't for anything special: general exam, blood pressure, etc. But still, "Go somewhere else" is the refrain.

Again, because I'm no longer living in Seattle, I don't have a personal stake in physician accessibility (I've my own care in Canada, thanks), but I know people in Seattle who are impacted by this every single day. And it hurts me to see them being screwed over and over again and suffering because of it. I'll even go out on a limb and advance that being a 16-year-old transsexual in Seattle these days is not an easy thing when it comes to health care. Thanks, Anne Lawrence et al.

Yes, I know shame, and I know it well (good lord, do I ever). But being told by a cissexual gay man with a loud mouth and limited wisdom on the attendant topic to effectively suck it up, get ashamed, and stfu? Gigga plz, surely you're kidding. Am I being harsh on Lawrence? I think so. I'm sorta sick of hearing the perpetual harm that person has exacted upon good people and upon an otherwise invisible population of people who have to remain so in order to survive. Sorry I can't be a little less emotional about it.

But this is all off-topic, and it's the last I'll bring up on Lawrence, who is most certainly tied into this incestuous, peer-subjective field of sexology implicating many of the parties already discussed in this thread — such as Poppas, the late Money, Blanchard, Zucker, Dreger, and Bailey.

And that's just for starters. Like said earlier: big, nasty iceberg.
More...
Posted by Telsa on June 17, 2010 at 12:21 PM · Report this
Delishuss 161
@157 And? A biothesiometer still vibrates, right? Do you think a little girl being told by her parents to lie back and tell the old man in her crotch whether and how much she can feel the vibrations on her clitoris isn't going to be affected psychosexually? I call bullshit.
Posted by Delishuss on June 17, 2010 at 12:25 PM · Report this
162
@158 Thanks for the clarification on your comparison. It still makes me uneasy—this type of comparison is so often misread and misunderstood (as I did)—but I understand what you were saying.

I'll tell you what, I am content to stop the competition between MGM and FGM. It serves no purpose and has no meaning. This thread focuses, as it should, on the issue in the article, FGM.

For those who are interested in the larger issues, such as: how did we get here?, and why is @157's argument (that is, the reply we will hear from Cornell) invalid?; it is worth looking into the history and development of modern medical sexual understanding. And there one will find a convergence of perversity and sexual fear which marks the shared history of FGM and MGM. They are performed for the same reasons with the same history and with the same results, not in every detail, but in every defining characteristic.

A good resource for that history and for research and fact on MGM is the NOCIRC website: nocirc(dot)org (in painful comic sans, sorry). And the excellent article by Dr. Paul Fleiss from Mothering Magazine is a good place to start: nocirc(dot)org(slash)articles(slash)fleiss(dot)php

The male foreskin is a sexual organ with blood vessels, nerves, and unique bodily functions. "No procedure in the history of medicine has been claimed (falsely!) to cure and prevent more diseases than circumcision". Don't believe the hype: circumcision is MGM.

And that is the most important characteristic shared by FGM and MGM: both will continue to be whitewashed by the docs. When this story hits the MSM, it will be about an hysterical blogosphere out of their league. The docs will dismiss us, the medical establishment will rally, and this will go on.

I figure each discussion like this one is an opportunity to win a little ground.
More...
Posted by KLansing on June 17, 2010 at 12:46 PM · Report this
163
@161. "And? A biothesiometer still vibrates, right? Do you think a little girl being told by her parents to lie back and tell the old man in her crotch whether and how much she can feel the vibrations on her clitoris isn't going to be affected psychosexually? I call bullshit." - Then I assume you feel the same way about visiting a gynecologist? Having some old man stick a speculum in you is a traumatic sexual experience? A biothesiometer technically vibrates, but the sensation is so slight that it is perceived more as sense of pressure than as a vibration. It is a medical device, not a sex toy.

Whether genital reconstructive surgery is a good practice or not is a real debate. For instance, they often need more cosmetic surgery later in life and are more likely to experience painful intercourse. On the other hand, in some cases, girls born with congenital adrenal hyperplasia cannot physically have intercourse without surgery because their clitoris and labia are too deformed.

Claiming that some doctor who has discovered a better way to perform genital reconstructive surgery is some old pervert trying to give a 'mutilated' five-year-old an orgasm is utter nonsense.
Posted by hayley23 on June 17, 2010 at 12:47 PM · Report this
Delishuss 164
@163 Post-puberty women going to a gynecologist is comparable to six year old girls forced into genital reconstructive surgery by their parents? Oh, silly me.
Posted by Delishuss on June 17, 2010 at 12:51 PM · Report this
165
This is appalling. I can't believe this doctor. I can't believe this is happening at Cornell. But what I really, really can't believe is, what in the hell kind of parent puts a FIVE YEAR OLD GIRL through cosmetic genital surgery that is potentially harmful as hell? Parents have no business altering their children's genitals. Period. End of story.

So, speaking as a parent to parents:

It's your job to keep doctors' hands off your kids' genitals. Period. Don't let them cut them, shorten them, "nick" them, retract them, touch them with a vibrator, or dye them purple. This goes for boys, girls, intersex, whatever. Moms: no, you don't abdicate responsibility (or get extra responsibility) because your child doesn't have (or has) the same equipment as you do. Dads: your son doesn't have to "look like" you. The Olan Mills family photographs won't show your dicks, I promise. It's your job to be assertive, even aggressive if they're not listening to you, with doctors, from birth on, to keep your kids' bodies intact.
Posted by annie get your gun on June 17, 2010 at 12:57 PM · Report this
166
@164. The condition is going to cause problems either way. It is the responsibility of the parents to decide between two bad options - not perform surgery presents one set of problems, performing surgery presents another set. A bunch of self-righteous blog commenters that have absolutely no knowledge of the condition or its treatments have no right to criticize their difficult decision.
Posted by hayley23 on June 17, 2010 at 1:02 PM · Report this
167
I think that "normalization" surgery is wrong, but I was so appalled by the commenters who are focusing on the problem being "sex with young girls" that I wrote 800 words about it on my professional blog - here http://bit.ly/90sX9g
Posted by Elizabeth_STDGuide http://std.about.com on June 17, 2010 at 1:06 PM · Report this
w7ngman 168
I don't mean to "hijack the thread", but I just wanted to point out to #4, et al that certain male commenters on Slog seem to be in some kind of denial about their own circumcision and don't take too kindly to it being referred to as "mutilation", correct as that assessment may be.
Posted by w7ngman http://userscripts.org/users/89370 on June 17, 2010 at 1:21 PM · Report this
169
Only because someone has a Ph.D. added to their name, doesn't mean that he can't be a sexual predator. Obviously, these tests are nothing more than a fantasy fulfillment of some sick pervert that needs to be put in jail.
Posted by Snuggle1 on June 17, 2010 at 1:24 PM · Report this
Delishuss 170
@166 Really? Is it the responsibility of the parents to decide on a condition that won't affect this girl until after puberty and she's sexually active? Does this condition absolutely necessitate the decision to be made pre-puberty? You say @163 that only in some cases of congenital adrenal hyperplasia is sex physically impossible. So these girls won't know if it's something they want to fix or not until after they are having or trying to have sex. So how do you justify making that decision before the girl can consent to it? It's her genitalia and future sex life, after all.

I may not have congenital adrenal hyperplasia, but my labia were fused and my mom opted me into corrective surgery when I was really young, like four or five. It wasn't necessary surgery, I functioned normally. But as a result of a minor complication my clitoris and labia have very little sensitivity. I'm lucky enough that I can still achieve orgasm, if I work really hard at it. It is so difficult for sex to be pleasurable for me now, and I always wonder what sex would be like if I hadn't had the surgery. Wish I'd had a choice.

Seeing as I have first-hand experience of some of the long-term effects of genital corrective surgery, I feel that self-righteous though I may be, I have the right to comment. Anyone on this board who has a child has a right to comment. Any person who is horrified at the idea of an adult stimulating a child's genitalia no matter what the pretense has a right to comment. This isn't something that's only up to people with medical knowledge.

Also, you may notice that there's no control group for this study. That's because no parent in their right mind would consent to allowing a doctor to use a biosthesiometer or a q-tip to stimulate the clitoral nerves of a little girl congenital adrenal hyperplasia who hasn't been operated on, because it's awfully close to molestation.
More...
Posted by Delishuss on June 17, 2010 at 1:33 PM · Report this
171
@167 Didn't bother reading the source article at BioEthics Forum? Or this that just a linkbait post?
Posted by KLansing on June 17, 2010 at 1:55 PM · Report this
172
Someone ought to cut off his penis & then ask him if he has any sensation left; if he can still enjoy sex. No vindictiveness here, of course, just for research purposes.
Posted by DES on June 17, 2010 at 2:01 PM · Report this
J-Haxx 173
I am struck by the fact that this has been going on for years, yet apparently only now is coming under scrutiny - I mean, by other than those in the medical profession who knew about it all along. I cannot imagine any circumstances where this is going to resolve itself in favor of Cornell, but the only way to find out what is really going on is to spread the word and insist on public review. It won't be enough just to stop the current practice - whatever ethical standards were in play when this got approved also need updating and review....and what about the journals that published information about the surgeries and follow-up exams? How come those editors and readers didn't notice any red-flags within this practice? I think we can assume that even back then somebody had to have realized that this was just plain wrong, but they did not speak up, which touches on the need for wide spread education in this little-known area of human physiology and development.
Posted by J-Haxx http://defyaugury.livejournal.com on June 17, 2010 at 2:05 PM · Report this
In Ottawa 174
Thank you Dan for posting about this. Cornell will be hearing from me.
Posted by In Ottawa on June 17, 2010 at 2:09 PM · Report this
175
@172

I concur. Someone get me a lab coat and a chain saw.
Posted by blah on June 17, 2010 at 2:11 PM · Report this
176
@170

That is really, really terrible; my heart truly goes out to you. :o(

"I feel that self-righteous though I may be, I have the right to comment."

You absolutely have every right to be self righteous and I think there needs to be more and more women/men/intersexed people such as yourself who expand the reality of the situation. HBO did a documentary on people born intersexed and there was a woman who had a similar thing happen. She was technically a man because she had XY chromosomes but had androgen insensitivity so she developed like a woman but with an extra large clitoris. Here parents took her in for a labiaplasty so that she could look "normal" and in that regard the surgery worked, her vagina looked like most other vaginas, EXCEPT she lost ALL sexual sensation.

I have yet to here one argument that even comes close to explaining why everyone (man, woman, boy, girl) should have the right to decide was happens cosmetically to their body.
Posted by bassplayerguy on June 17, 2010 at 2:13 PM · Report this
177
@173

I think one of the main reasons we haven't really heard about it as this point is b/c we live in a culture that places a HUGE emphasis on looking "normal." If you read some of the post surgery check-ups on David Reimer (the kid who was castrated while he was being circumcised and then given a neonatal sex change) it was straight up pederast stuff for both him/her and his/her twin brother and yet no one really gave it a second thought.
Posted by bassplayerguy on June 17, 2010 at 2:18 PM · Report this
178
@ 165
So, speaking as a parent to parents:

It's your job to keep doctors' hands off your kids' genitals. Period. Don't let them cut them, shorten them, "nick" them, retract them, touch them with a vibrator, or dye them purple. This goes for boys, girls, intersex, whatever. Moms: no, you don't abdicate responsibility (or get extra responsibility) because your child doesn't have (or has) the same equipment as you do. Dads: your son doesn't have to "look like" you. The Olan Mills family photographs won't show your dicks, I promise. It's your job to be assertive, even aggressive if they're not listening to you, with doctors, from birth on, to keep your kids' bodies intact.

As sickening an experience as it has been – I have read all these comments. I am outraged and disgusted to the point of distorted vision and trembling fingers and gagging. Now after reading 165 I would like everyone to pause and read it again. This is the bottom line here. Parents it is your/our job to keep our children intact and healthy! Just because some sick fuck, or just plain stupid/misinformed doctors thinks you should let them slice and dice your infants most tender bits is no reason to be cowed into doing it. When I was faced, in 1982 mind you, with deciding to circumcise my three sons or not the one overriding reason I had to say no was because I had no way of knowing how they would feel about it. I had to consent, or not, to something beyond my own body – something irretrievable, something they would have to live with. Now that is a very heavy burden and even as a teenage mom, during a time when the assumption was all boys get cut, I knew I had no right to say yes to totally cosmetic surgery on the tiny pink genitals of my brand new child. This has got to stop – all of it. So thank you @165 for reminding all of us that this could all end today if every parent simply said no and then hell no and then screamed and pounded fists and stomped feet and said no again. Geez I feel sick.
More...
Posted by good vagina on June 17, 2010 at 3:01 PM · Report this
179
@178

Word. Btw, I love your screen name. :o)
Posted by bassplayerguy on June 17, 2010 at 3:17 PM · Report this
Delishuss 180
@176 Thanks for your sympathy. 96 had the same condition as I did, but I am so much more fortunate than her because they put me under a general anesthesia, whereas she was both conscious and not anesthetized, and old enough to remember it. I remember going into the surgery, but I don't remember the surgery itself. I feel worse for her, and for all the little girls being "treated" by Dr. Poppas. My surgery caused me enough physical damage as it is. If I try to imagine the psychological damage being caused by your parents' shame and fear of your "abnormality," or by being forced to display your six-year-old privates so your doctor can fiddle with them, it just makes me sick.
Posted by Delishuss on June 17, 2010 at 3:19 PM · Report this
BearNecessity 181
So lots of great comments... What is the plan of action? What concrete steps can we take? I've posted something on this to my Facebook account to spread the word. What else can we do?
Posted by BearNecessity on June 17, 2010 at 3:46 PM · Report this
182
@125 I'm a man who has to say to his partners "I was circumcised, and as a result am unable to orgasm." It's underreported because no guy in our society likes to admit to being "impotent" (a term I detest) but it happens.
Posted by anorgasmicman on June 17, 2010 at 3:48 PM · Report this
183
Dan,

Why is it up to Cornell students to do something? When has the administration at a big-name school (or any school, for that matter) really taken to heart what the student body has to say? What, exactly, can we "do" about it, besides be mortified that such bullshit is coming from our institution? I'm a recent Cornell grad, who is going to listen to me? I can't even make more than 30k a year with my ivy league degree.

The people you need to be asking that question to is President Skorton, and the numerous fuckwits who approved this research. And then, if you want to ask someone else, let's go bigger than just Cornell students: let's ask society what they're going to do about the misogyny they continue to institutionalize and justify with the word "medicine." This issue, as you know, is much greater than Dix Poppas.
Posted by squirrelgurl on June 17, 2010 at 3:57 PM · Report this
184
Dan,

Why is it up to Cornell students to do something? When has the administration at a big-name school (or any school, for that matter) really taken to heart what the student body has to say? What, exactly, can we "do" about it, besides be mortified that such bullshit is coming from our institution? I'm a recent Cornell grad, who is going to listen to me? I can't even make more than 30k a year with my ivy league degree.

The people you need to be asking that question to is President Skorton, and the numerous fuckwits who approved this research. And then, if you want to ask someone else, let's go bigger than just Cornell students: let's ask society what they're going to do about the misogyny they continue to institutionalize and justify with the word "medicine." This issue, as you know, is much greater than Dix Poppas.
Posted by squirrelgurl on June 17, 2010 at 3:59 PM · Report this
185
Dan,

Why is it up to Cornell students to do something? When has the administration at a big-name school (or any school, for that matter) really taken to heart what the student body has to say? What, exactly, can we "do" about it, besides be mortified that such bullshit is coming from our institution? I'm a recent Cornell grad, who is going to listen to me? I can't even make more than 30k a year with my ivy league degree.

The people you need to be asking that question to is President Skorton, and the numerous fuckwits who approved this research. And then, if you want to ask someone else, let's go bigger than just Cornell students: let's ask society what they're going to do about the misogyny they continue to institutionalize and justify with the word "medicine." This issue, as you know, is much greater than Dix Poppas.
Posted by squirrelgurl on June 17, 2010 at 4:05 PM · Report this
186
I called Cornell...Call this Number to complain, it's their HR dept for the medical part of Cornell

HR:6072548370

the hospital where he works: 2127465454
Posted by misanthropic responsibility on June 17, 2010 at 4:08 PM · Report this
187
Thanks bassplayerguy, you brought a little smile to my face in spite of all this horrible stuff. I like your name too -- bass players = :-)

@182 anorgasmicman, I am deeply sorry for the terrible loss you have been living with. I have such an urge to kiss you booboo and wish that could make it all better. I'm glad you told us -- more people need to know what is at stake.
Posted by good vagina on June 17, 2010 at 4:21 PM · Report this
188
JESUS H. MACY, ABSURD.
Posted by johndd on June 17, 2010 at 4:31 PM · Report this
189
@182

God damn, dude that sucks. Thanks for speaking up though, I can only imagine how shitty it is to have to deal with that situation. You are 100% right, it's not that it doesn't happen it's just that people don't really talk about it but the information is out there if people want to hear it. Just doing a quick internet search I found more than a few examples:

There was a fore mentioned David Reimer:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Reime…

Dan dealt with it in his column (the second letter down):

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Savag…

This is about a guy in Perth:

http://www.circumstitions.com/Shane.html

NY:

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2006/11/don…

This one's probably the most disturbing (NSFW):

http://www.infocirc.org/fourn.htm

And like most people here I'm just recently finding about about little girls being given a labiaplasty and, of course, this particular (and absolutely INFURIATING article) that Dan posted (I don't know why but I just assumed this shit didn't happen to girls here.) I think this all falls under the general umbrella of "Why the fuck are we doing this?"
Posted by bassplayerguy on June 17, 2010 at 4:42 PM · Report this
190
@186

Do you mind if I asked what you said when you called?
Posted by bassplayerguy on June 17, 2010 at 4:43 PM · Report this
191
ALSO...CALL THE STATE MEDICAL BOARD. CALL:8178684000. Call tomorrow where they're open!
Posted by misanthropic responsibility on June 17, 2010 at 4:44 PM · Report this
192
@bassplayerguy
I went to the school site and got their number and scared the shit out of the poor girl who was operating and gave me the numbers...not because i was mean but because she was horrified of what was going on, i summarized the article for her and told her to read it for herself...as to unleashing my fury on the bigwigs, that will have to wait till tomorrow...east coast times...*sigh* i've also sent this article to all my med school friends with the numbers. i hope we can get this fucker. >_
Posted by misanthropic responsibility on June 17, 2010 at 4:56 PM · Report this
193
These parents are sick.
Posted by subwlf on June 17, 2010 at 5:01 PM · Report this
194
@192

"and scared the shit out of the poor girl who was operating and gave me the numbers"

I actually had to wait a day before reading the whole article b/c the first paragraph alone pissed me off too much. I have a feeling that this story is going to spread pretty fast.
Posted by bassplayerguy on June 17, 2010 at 5:05 PM · Report this
195
have a look at the article. one of the professors has included their entire contact information. go on, give them a call, fax, or email, or just show up on their doorstep and demand justice for subjecting innocent children to an adult's perverse curiosity.

Dix P. Poppas
Institute for Pediatric Urology, Rodgers Family
Professor of Pediatric Urology, New York Presbyterian Hospital,
Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 525 East 68th St., Box
94, New York, NY 10021 (telephone: 212-746-5337; FAX: 212-746-
8065; e-mail: dpoppas@med.cornell.edu)
Posted by Burnettage on June 17, 2010 at 5:10 PM · Report this
196
Is the same outrage expressed at this "study" of some guy shortening clitorises that are "too big" expressed at doctors that cut off the "extra skin" off of the penises of males?

Does it outrage people that currently "studies" continue to try and justify circumcision in baby boys?

Do people regard circumcisors of baby boys as "rapists," as they regard Poppas?

Or is that "different?"

Why?

Why does outrage only happen in this country when the subject of mutilation is girls?

Why are only experiments and "studies" legit when it involves the cutting of healthy BOYS?

If you can't ask yourself these questions, then this outrage is false and contrived.

May one day children of BOTH sexes be protected under the law.

What Poppas is doing goes against the FGM ban. There can't be any "studies" that violate the genital integrity of girls. This supposed institution of higher education, and anyone that funded him is going to have hell to pay.

We need to work against "studies" that attempt to justify the violation of the basic human rights of others.

We would never accept a "study" that tries to show the "medical virtues" of neck stretching. Breast ironing. Feet binding. We don't accept this "study" performed on infant girls. We must reject all the "studies" that try to justify the mutilation of boys too.
Posted by Joseph4GI on June 17, 2010 at 5:41 PM · Report this
Milbury 197
@125

I was circumcised at three days of age and I couldn't have a painless, porn-free orgasm until I was 29 because {looks around} circumcision is done by machines that operate under the assumption that all penises are between 14-18 cm. My adult-sized penis (once I was able to loosen the leftover skin enough to allow for full erections) measures 21 cm. If you think that I'm bragging, I'll repeat the fact that I DIDN'T HAVE A PAINLESS PORN-FREE ORGASM UNTIL I WAS 29 YEARS OLD. For emphasis, I DIDN'T HAVE A PAINLESS PORN-FREE ORGASM UNTIL I WAS 29 WHILE I WAS DATING WOMEN WHO WERE EXTREMELY PORN-NEGATIVE, which led to me either wearing women out (and leaving myself frustrated) or having to "use" porn to gain enough mental stimulation to overcome the pain at the base of my penis. If you honestly believe that there are millions of porn-positive, body issue-free women between the ages of 18-28 in America (IOW, women who won't see using porn instead of/in combination with their bodies as an insult), you're dead wrong. I missed out on at least two potential LTRs because they were creeped out/pissed off by the idea of marrying a man who needed porn to reach orgasm (because they felt that I was saying that they weren't "good enough".) Now, my skin is loose enough to allow full orgasms, and the nice thing about Peyronie's is that it gives me a good bend, but I missed a decade of good sex and lost a few good women because some money-grubbing doctor convinced my mother that foreskins are "ugly" and "dirty". To be honest, I'd rather have the skin back.

Back on topic, the idea that this man is still alive and that George Tiller is dead shows that there's no justice in the world. Removing a fetus to save the life of a living and breathing woman=abomination, but slashing and molestiing a living, breathing child for the sake of vanity=good!?
More...
Posted by Milbury http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rLkEsoO6t0 on June 17, 2010 at 5:44 PM · Report this
198
Telsa's attacks on Anne Lawrence are complete bullshit.

Alice Dreger—whose work Telsa is praising and endorsing here—unpacks, explains, and calls bullshit on the vengeful hate/spite campaign waged against Lawrence by Telsa and her ilk in this paper:

http://bioethics.northwestern.edu/facult…

Other Sloggers should read it—and Telsa should too. And she should be ashamed of herself, if she's capable of feeling shame.

Really Dan? You're going to get into the same bed as NARTH now? I mean, I know you have this hating trans people thing that's been going on for years, but really?
Posted by lizdhm on June 17, 2010 at 5:48 PM · Report this
199
As the PC saying goes, we shouldn't be judgmental. God can do that. PLEASE let me be the one to arrange that meeting....I have a physiological need for stress relief after reading this.
Posted by sensiblegrandma on June 17, 2010 at 5:59 PM · Report this
200
As the PC saying goes, we shouldn't be judgmental. God can do that. PLEASE let me be the one to arrange that meeting....I have a physiological need for stress relief after reading this.
Posted by sensiblegrandma on June 17, 2010 at 6:01 PM · Report this
201
I am a 60 year old woman, and this make me cry. I do not have much if any sexual response, and never have, really - I liken the experience to a nice back rub - it's the closeness, and satisfaction to my partner that gives me the most pleasure, but the thought of otherwise intact little girls, whose only alleged 'medical' problem is 'enlarged' clitorises, being surgically altered is nothing less than barbaric. At 6 years of age, who knows what will happen? Maybe they will 'grow into' their clits. Surgery to shorten,or 'feminize' them is sick and wrong. This so-called doctor should have his medical license revoked for such blatant abuse. What does he have against larger clitorises anyway? Who is to say what is within the 'normal' range? Certainly not one sick man. This is nothing short of pedophilia by proxy. The girls are more traumatized by the genital exposure than the actual so-called exams, as well they should be. They are at an age when they are becoming more aware of their body, and are unwilling to expose their 'private parts' because they are just that! PRIVATE parts! And they should remain so.
Posted by Nanzar on June 17, 2010 at 6:10 PM · Report this
venomlash 202
@196: One, circumcision removes a section of skin, not a chunk of erectile tissue. Two, guys tend to have it easier than girls in terms of having an orgasm from sex. If a guy lasts twice as long because he's circumcised, most people would consider that a good thing. Three, having no foreskin makes it a lot harder to get anything caught in a pants zipper, I'd say.
Posted by venomlash on June 17, 2010 at 6:33 PM · Report this
203
Looks like I am the only one who doesn't find it so outrageous.

There are two things here 1. the mutilation itself and 2. the way the checkup is performed. I generally oppose mutilation but I don't see what is so wrong with the whole examination. I don't see how it can be construed as inappropriate from sexual POV, first the parent initiates the whole thing and second he is always present so can intervene or skip the followup if he feels it's in any way wrong. The examinations do not differ from a routine gynecological examination, it's not like he is penetrating them with a real vibrator or inducing orgasm, he is just using a vibrating instrument to test touch sensitivity, how on Earth would you do it if not by touching? And the parents naturally want to know if the operation was successful and the child retained the sense of touch.

The hole experience seems much better then the mutilation done in Africa and while I do not support it I think the righteous anger of some of the comments here is blown way out of proportion. I had my genitals inspected as a child and it was completely harmless and irrelevant experience with zero effect on my development.
Posted by ZXCrecord on June 17, 2010 at 6:45 PM · Report this
204
wrote a letter to cornell and will call tomorrow. It was difficult reading th article, being a survivor of abuse. We have to do whatever we can to stop this monster and anyone who enables him. This will haunt these girls for the rest of their lives!!!
what else can we do?
Posted by SinginMama on June 17, 2010 at 6:51 PM · Report this
205
This violates every conceivable ethical instinct, (and probably actual guidelines.) So, your job is to chop up little girls' clitorises, for NO rational reason, then molest them? WTG, Doc. Proportional growth, (i.e., babies heads are oversized for their bodies, boys' penises are small relative to height before puberty, etc.,) isn't always the case in infants and children. If someone wants to have genital surgery as an adult, (regardless of whether it's psychologically motivated vs. rational,) that's up to them. These children are being surgically abused, psychologically traumatized, and, to be frank - molested, by a doctor with their parents' consent. How on earth is this even permitted at Cornell, let alone, not a criminal offense?

I sincerely hope that children's services steps in, at a minimum.
What the hell happened to, "Primum non nocere?"
Posted by kristenmchugh22 on June 17, 2010 at 6:54 PM · Report this
206
This is nothing short of disgusting. Even my mate was sickened and angered over this, just as he is sickened and angered about male circumcision. BS to the people who try to say the two are somehow different; you're still taking something extremely sensitive and important and cutting chunks of it off, removing so many nerves in the process and potentially causing problems later in life, and yes, the clit is analogous to the penis. (personal anecdote: my mate was circumcised without his consent as a child, and had issues both centering around his ability to be physically stimulated, as well as issues with his gender through his adolescent years because of this issue. Both were remedied with loving support and a manual restretching of the skin, and he's a lot more comfortable for it, both mentally and physically, though those chopped-off nerves are still gone and always will be; we also found out after this that he couldn't reach his full length because of the circumcision, the remaining skin was too tight to allow it).

It's absolutely ridiculous that someone thinks they can set a standard for "normal" size when biology regularly allows for a wide varietal range when it comes to size. The theory that girls who have big clits become lesbians is like saying guys with small dicks invariably become effeminate gays, which is just silly. They might have self-esteem issues due to the stupid idea that "bigger is better" in today's society, but seriously? The problem is not the genitalia, it's the obsolete way of thinking most people hold out of ignorance; in the case that an enlarged clitoris legitimately causes problems once an individual is sexually mature, THEN you can go in with the invasive surgery with their consent, cause not every big clit is gonna be troublesome.

Trying to find a way to 'fix' or 'prevent' homosexuality is pointless, bigoted, and is absolutely no excuse to harm and completely traumatize people's young children, especially in what is *supposed* to be an advanced society. If you can't stand things that are different to you, GTFO and go back to the dark ages. Or Africa.
More...
Posted by Sala on June 17, 2010 at 7:04 PM · Report this
207
This savagery taking place in 21st century United States. "Primum non nocere" is now considered no more than a quaint throw back to a time when Medicine played a part in Health Care, before it was co-opted by Health as Industry. If these butchers are capable of self-reflection they should be ashamed of themselves.
Posted by Caiteach on June 17, 2010 at 7:20 PM · Report this
ScaryMara 208
I just want to remind everybody that there is now a facebook group dedicated to this.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=13…
Posted by ScaryMara on June 17, 2010 at 7:40 PM · Report this
209
Google clitorimegaly, it is a disorder and it can be pretty damn extreme in some cases, so it's not hard to see why parents decide to have such an operation.

I bet many of the outraged here would opt for the operation themselves if their daughter had a small penis in place of clitoris and I bet they would be grateful the doctor did it in the way that preserves nerves. I also bet most of you would be freaked out if you attempted sleeping with such a girl.

Try to get the other side of the story before you start throwing accusations around.
Posted by ZXCrecord on June 17, 2010 at 8:07 PM · Report this
210
This is totally absurd and unethical.

There's nothing wrong with variation in genitalia. In fact, I'm fairly certain most women aren't even aware if they have a larger-than-average clitoris. Case in point: it was only after reading this article and looking up average clitoris size that I realized I have a somewhat larger clitoris. It's not like I've ever cared or bothered to compare my clitoris to other women's. And I doubt any guy is going to pull out a ruler before intercourse and start measuring it for me.
Posted by cairo on June 17, 2010 at 8:12 PM · Report this
211
While in the long run, it probably won't matter much, I just sent a somewhat scathing, but mostly disappointed email to the dean and the president. Don't just comment here, do something about it - write an email, make a phone call, spread the word.
Posted by MNV on June 17, 2010 at 8:14 PM · Report this
212
@209

I bet they wouldn't; that's the point.
Posted by bassplayerguy on June 17, 2010 at 8:26 PM · Report this
213
@202 and @203: Enter the trolls. Please don't feed them.

@209, on the chance that you are not a troll: read the primary documents. Both "sides of the story" are represented here, linked in the original article, which includes Dr. Poppas' own reporting of his study and the article in BioEthics Forum.

The outrage is warranted.
Posted by KLansing on June 17, 2010 at 8:28 PM · Report this
214
@zxcrecord re: #209, if you'd read the wiki article on Clitoromegaly http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clitoromega… you'd see that in itself, it is not a disorder, but may indicate an intersex person, with other factors present. However, I'd say that a 6 year old having sex, isn't something we want to see, would you agree? The age of 14 is the minimum legal age of medical consent in some states, in others, it may be slightly lower or higher. If someone does NOT have a medically necessary, but merely cosmetic desire for clitoroplasty, I'd say it's reasonable to at least wait until they can make that decision. Wouldn't you? Again, the size of any body part, relative to the overall size of the whole body, can vary greatly and still be NORMAL, prior to puberty. To put it as bluntly as possible: The head of an infant is grossly oversized compared to the rest of the body. We don't go around decapitating infants because of it, do we?
Posted by kristenmchugh22 on June 17, 2010 at 8:29 PM · Report this
215
It would be helpful if someone would actually read the research papers, instead of relying on a blog of a blog about it for "facts". I'm a strong advocate against female genital mutilation and Dr. Poppas's research is not that.

I pulled up the abstracts on Pubmed to see the research, which can be found here:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17707…
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17707…

The patients that Dr. Poppas operated on had a diagnosis of Congential Adrenal Hyperplasia, which basically means that the adrenal glands, which produce the sex steroids (and other steriods) don't work or aren't sensitive to the chemical signals during fetal development. There are several genetic causes for this, but it can lead to maldevelopment of both female and male sex organs (and in some cases, being unable to tell gender based on external sex organs). In women with the classic syndrome, this can means an enlarged clitoris, fusion of the labia and improper development of the vagina. It can be severe enough that the clitoris can resemble a penis and become engorged and develop erections, just like a male penis.

There is debate as to how to treat this syndrome. I don't know much, because I'n not in urology or in pediatrics and therefore, never see it. This seems to be a good review article discussing some of the controversy with treatment, especially considering surgery and reconstruction, one of the reasons because they don't know how it's going to effect their sexual function as they get older. Warning, there are detailed drawings of the surgical procedures and of genitalia and it is rather dry and technical in places. The research that Dr. Poppas was doing was to try to perserve as much sexual function as possible, while making the clitoris appear more cosmetically more female, so that the surgeries are safer and better for the girls.

And on an end note, this study looked at sexual satisfaction in a few patients with CAH and ambiguous genitalia who underwent the surgery and found that overall, their sexual experiences and satisfaction were equal to those who did not.
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Posted by dr redhead on June 17, 2010 at 8:37 PM · Report this
216
He is a child molester; plain & simple!
Posted by sallyg on June 17, 2010 at 8:44 PM · Report this
217
He is a child molester; plain & simple!
Posted by sallyg on June 17, 2010 at 8:47 PM · Report this
218
http://www.weillcornell.org/dppoppas/

He's got a list of his "Professional Memberships" on the bottom of that page... Maybe those organizations could use a few emails encouraging them to investigate?
Posted by Speak for the Weak on June 17, 2010 at 8:51 PM · Report this
219
i think this is some sick way of getting away with sexual abuse.. I cant believe this kind of practice is allowed....This is the Dr.Kavorkian of sexuality...
Posted by rainstorm on June 17, 2010 at 9:02 PM · Report this
220
Dr Redhead, are you proposing that surgery to the clitoris somehow helps with this so called condition? Isn't surgery only to be used to correct problems, such as fused labia would be a real medical problem? It is cosmetic only unless reducing the size of the clitoris has some to me unbeknown benefits. In addition, the follow up procedures are still psychologically traumatizing and have no value to the patient, only to his research, therefore only due harm which I thought was to be avoided in medicine. They are therefore unethical.
Posted by someoneinWA on June 17, 2010 at 9:19 PM · Report this
221
Male infant circumcision has been shown to reduce erect penile length by varying amounts depending on the study you believe, from self-reporting I've seen its about 1" which is hardly "unnoticeable"

Since infant circumcision is unnecessary and causes more deaths than choking which is endlessly crusaded against it would absolutely not surprise me if homophobia has replaced fear of masturbation as the primary reason for circumcision of males.

Cosmetic surgery just shouldn't be done on people too young to consent. (I would accept surgery to repair obvious problems on face and other highly visible body parts in children old enough to express a clear wish to have it done. But I'd much rather find a solution to bullying of all children instead)
Posted by mystic_eye on June 17, 2010 at 9:35 PM · Report this
222
redhead: regardless of the medical diagnosis, it's sick and wrong to use vibrators on little girls. period. you don't think these girls aren't going to have long-term trauma from this? even if these girls do end up with "abnormal" genitals they would be better off dealing with what nature gave them than having to sort out being part of some crazy experiment. let them decide as adults if they want plastic surgery.
Posted by mamaearth on June 17, 2010 at 9:42 PM · Report this
Max Voltage SF 223
One more example of the sort of harm visited on children, due to the ODIOUS name change from "Intersex", to "Disorders of Sex Development". People with atypical presentation of gender are now "Disordered". Concerned parents have more pressure on them to "fix" their children, rather than embrace them as the unique persons they are & provide them with age appropriate information on Intersex folk, so those children, can, in time make their won choices, based on what is right for that individual person.

More information regarding how Intersex folk feel about "Disorders of Sex Development", at OII.org.

Yeah, I am Intersex.
Posted by Max Voltage SF on June 17, 2010 at 10:08 PM · Report this
224
@203: I still remember when I had to have my genitals examined by my doctor when I was a child - I don't remember the reason why, but I remember the examination and how I felt, and I hadn't had surgery to alter my genitalia, nor was I being touched to explore sensitivity.

Trust me, there is a very great chance that these girls will remember this for the rest of their lives and be traumatised by it.
Posted by K.L.R on June 17, 2010 at 10:29 PM · Report this
225
someoneinWA: I'm not a surgeon, I just know how to do a literature search. :) Congential adrenal hyperplasia is a real medical condition (it's easily googled). It's inherited problem with the adrenal system; the adrenal system produces the sex hormones that direct the developement of genitalia while as a fetus (as well as affects electrolytes and blood pressure and all sort of things like that). If these hormones aren't produced OR if the sex hormones aren't sensitive to them, then abnormalities of the genitalia can occur, to the point where it's really difficult to tell what sex the baby is when it's born. Google images has several examples of the external genitalia of these babies and children; it can be quite devastating.

CAH is treated medically with a variety of steriods to help reduce the electrolyte abnormalities (and sometimes to balance the amount of testosterone). But since the changes to the genitalia occured in vivo (during development), the treatment in the past has been surgical: to give the girls a vagina, to reduce the size of the clitoris so it no longer looks like a penis, etc. There can be medical complications from the abnormal genitalia: the girls have normal internal organs, ie ovaries and uterus, and therefore have menses which can cause problems if there's no vagina or a fused labia.

The surgical review article suggested that in the past, they removed the clitoris entirely, which obviously, lead to many complications. These studies that Dr. Poopas and others are doing are evaluating new surgical techniques to reduce the amount of nerve disturbance, so as to preserve sensation and sexual function. Looking at other review articles showed similar sorts of methods to document preservation of sensation, as well as looking at the number of nerves in the removed tissue, doing nerve conduction studies (with needles and/or electrical stimulation) to the remaining clitoris), etc. In medicine, it's hard to know whether or not your intervention works unless you have some way to measure success or failure.

Sorry if this is rambling. It's getting late.

And as an aside, there has been some suggestion that girls with CAH are more likely to form lesbian relations as teenagers and adults, but this is not thought to be due to the size of the clitoris, rather from the effects of testosterone on the developing fetus or from other psychosocial interactions.
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Posted by dr redhead on June 17, 2010 at 10:29 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 226
@ 213 - Venomlash @ 202 is a long standing and welcome member of the SLOG community. You just registered earlier today. You do not get to call Venomlash a troll.

@ 203, OTOH, total troll. But you owe Venomlash an apology.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 17, 2010 at 10:45 PM · Report this
NOP_Spinster 227
@177 - I'm pretty certain my mother and doctors wanted me to have cleft lip surgery so I could breathe, eat and talk right. I'm fairly certain a lot of cleft lip and palate 'sufferers' would agree with me.
My genitalia has no reason to be operated on unless it's preventing me from urinating or having menstrual discharge or some other medical reason. A large clitoris or being intersex is not a good medical reason. Children will eventually identify and then they can decide what they want to do, post-puberty. That goes for boys, too.
Posted by NOP_Spinster on June 17, 2010 at 10:55 PM · Report this
228
Seems like a misguided(and very sick, abusive) method of gender or sexual reassignment early on, but we all know that doesn't change the genetics or the brain. And the implications of sexual abuse, which I'm sure it feels like psychologically for these little girls. I keep hoping this is some huge internet joke someone started. I am very discouraged at how backwards women in our society have become, young women are being exploited to such a degree it's soul defeating observing it daily. The way they're mutilating their bodies too, the disappearing vagina I call it... Really, no words can express the disgust I am feeling after report. Throughout history doctors have perpetrated horrors and abuse using science and research as a rationalization and license to torture and abuse.
Posted by Pia on June 17, 2010 at 11:28 PM · Report this
229
What a bunch of analytical bullcrap!

The doctor is a child molester.

He is doing unnecessary surgeries and is risking the future sexuality of all his patients because of the unnecessary surgeries. He is also traumatizing the girls by performing painful surgeries on their sex organs.

Why is there such a problem that there are multiple pages of detailed analysis of the experiments, surgeries, assaults, and molestations, yet not a soul has turned in the good doctor for molesting children? There's no need to go over all the risks, the wrongs being committed, the trauma to the patients. All that's necessary is to go to the local police department and file a complaint. Give the name of the doctor, the location where the molestations are occurring, the nature of the molestations, etc.

I'd enjoy watching this doctor explain to a jury how he uses a Q-Tip to test his patients for residual sexual function. Yes, those details should be very satisfying when heard before a jury in a court of law. Repeating details of the doctor's experimentation doesn't do much for solving anything until charges are filed against the doctor and he is finally shown to be the abuser that he is.

So who among this group resides in or around the area where the crime is being committed? There are various complaints that can be filed. If you are hesitant as apparently all of you are, get a note from one or more of the other doctors who are also outraged by the behavior of this perverted predator. .

Bottom line - MAKE A COMPLAINT to the local police department ABOUT THE CHILD ABUSE AND ASSAULT BEING, COMMITTED UPON LITTLE GIRLS AS YOUNG AS 5 YEARS OLD AND LESS. You may want to alert the local newspapers as well as the police to be sure your complaints are filed. I'd go for numbers of complainants. Get whoever you can who lives in the area where the doctor practices to make a complaint with you. The more the merrier.

It's amazing how long these practices can continue without interruption when nobody makes an official complaint. This is not legitimate research. It's the work of a pervert getting his rocks off by manipulating Q-Tips on post-surgical 5 year old little girls' vaginas. See how your local cops like this Q-tip method of testing the surgical results.
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Posted by jessix on June 17, 2010 at 11:29 PM · Report this
230
Why dont parents stop focusing so much on making their child normal , and just focus on making them happy? That is all that really matters. This case is disgusting.As someone who just finished a degree in the medical field, I absolutely hate the way that medicine attempts to pathologize our bodies and "fix"them. If you are healthy , who gives a fuck what form that comes in.
Posted by Cig_ne on June 17, 2010 at 11:44 PM · Report this
PatriciaRobinett 231
"The Rape of Innocence: Female Genital Mutilation and Circumcision in the USA" is my bio and gentle rant on this subject - It took me ten years to edit the fury out of my heart and the book so it could be published. FGM used to be quite common in the US. No, i'm not of African descent, but WASP - English & French - born & raised in Kansas. I've met other women who were c'd. It was not rare. Blue Cross Blue Shield covered clitoridectomies until 1977.

There is WAY too much preoccupation in the medical community on the genitals of tiny children. Medicine is a convenient career for people who care overly much about children's genitals. And there is WAY too much "fanning the flames of neuroses" over the appearance of children's genitals. Genital are not designed for eyes to look at; they are meant to feel good. Cutting makes scar tissue and then genitals feel icky, rather than good. Cutting is abusive and counterproductive.

Leave the fate of children's genitals to their owners... not parents or MDs.

My concerns: I am relatively certain if male circumcision was not practiced in the US, then I wouldn't have been circumcised, these little girls we are freaking out over at Cornell wouldn't have been "genitally reduced" and most of the little boys in the US wouldn't have had their foreskins cut off (and sold to pharmaceutical and cosmetics companies), because genital interference and alteration would be the LAST thing on any normal, natural, healthy adult mind.

Little children who are cut (or sexually abused in other ways), have no words for their distress and so they "act out" - dramatize - what happened to them by cutting others. Monkey see, monkey do. Circumcision makes circumcisers; mutilation makes mutilators. To end the cycle of abuse, we have to end the abuse of everyone, of both genders and learn to accept diversity with peaceful minds. It's not rocket science. As long as someone sick can justify cutting anyone's genitals, they will cut and cut and cut. It would be better to get them help when they indicate they might want to take a knife to human flesh. The compulsion to cut human flesh is a disease... the unfortunate remnant of Nazi experimentation when thousands of German MDs immigrated to the US in Operation Paperclip after WWII & taught cruelty to US medical students.

All that said, my main concern is not the physical but the psychological impact. A knife to the genitals significantly diminishes the quality of life for any person who has been cut. Sensual comfort is gone. PTSD is common. Suicidal ideation is common. Night terrors & nightmares. Self-hatred. Feelings of powerlessness, learned helplessness. All sorts of ills are possible due to negative decisions made by the very young child.

Mutilation is mega-rape, rape by knife. Rape may or may not be any individual MD's intention, but rape is how those who were genitally cut depict it.

It's terrible cruelty, all genital cutting.
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Posted by PatriciaRobinett http://www.RapeOfInnocence.com on June 18, 2010 at 1:06 AM · Report this
232
@Dr Redhead:

You mention published work where Poppas speaks of surgery to correct CAH, but the article under discussion in this thread is the one cited by Savage:

http://www.thestranger.com/images/blogim…

which talks about using his same methodology to correct, and I quote:

clitorimegaly

which is merely a larger than average clitoris. IOW, AFAICT, this paper refers to using clitoroplasty for merely cosmetic reasons.

so, there IS a reason to debate the ethical nature of this work, and how it is applied, aside from whether the methods utilized themselves are ethical or not.

Posted by Ichthyic on June 18, 2010 at 2:28 AM · Report this
233
What sort of parent exposes their child to this type of abuse?
It has either to do with an obsession with appearance, looking like everybody else. Or as mentioned in the article: homophobia. Either one is not a valid reason to perform the surgery and subject the child to the horrific and abusive follow-up exams.
There is no reason not to wait for these girls to grow up and let them decide for themselves whether they want surgery or not.
This screams child molestation on the part of the doctor as well as the parents.
Posted by a mother on June 18, 2010 at 4:38 AM · Report this
234
Thank you Dr. Redhead for an objective POV. Albeit, when I read the excerpt I too was offended and very much put off by the overall procedure. I found myself questioning the reasoning behind such research. As with any article I read, I also question the authors intent/motivation. There is likely more to this than meets the article. What we don't know about the patients in this research is the severity or acuteness of their malformations. Did Dreger interview the parents to fully understand their motivation? Shouldn't we trust that the larger number of parents in New York City (or in any American suburb), operate in the interest of their offspring. Sure there are some whack jobs out there. How many of them can afford the type of medical costs associated with this program/research. If this research were conducted in East LA, Harlem or some back woodsy township in West Virginia (no offense meant to anyone calling these locations home) preying on uneducated, low income families, I would be up in arms with the rest.

It's easy to find passion for protecting the children of this world that have little or no choice in defining their existence. I've read articles on the cutting away of the labia with a sharp edged stone in Africa for no other reason than to cut away the evil flesh. Cornell University is and has been a beacon of academia for many years. I am sure that much consideration from many astute scholars goes into the granting of resources for such research.

There are always two sides to a story. Dreger's is one side. In the interest of diversity lets keep our minds open for the other side. Best wishes to all.
Posted by TugSkipper on June 18, 2010 at 4:52 AM · Report this
235
@226 Read @202 again. That post is purposefully provocative, using childishly inaccurate statements to start a fight. Read it again, and tell me that it was intended as a positive contribution to the discussion. Perhaps this will help: http://tinyurl.com/yyx3ns
Posted by KLansing on June 18, 2010 at 5:17 AM · Report this
236
If all 226 outraged posters were to go to child protection and the sheriff you could stop them - something other than expressing views has to be done about this. What is the matter with the hospital ethics committee. Are they on permanent sabbatical?

Cute trick, stimulating the clitoris to enlarge it, then judging it too large, then judging it has to be cut off. What are these mutilators using as a standard? The standard clitoris in the archives in Paris?

And from what arrogant, invasive, mercenary, cowardly, malicious standpoint and perverted mentality does anyone trained to practice fiduciary responsible therapy judge they have the authority to cut infants and children's genitalia to begin with?

They should all be jailed.
Posted by denounce them on June 18, 2010 at 5:59 AM · Report this
237
@Dr Redhead

Actually, the abstract states that the purpose of the study was to practice clitoroplasty to be used on patients with Adrenal Hypoplasia, BUT the patients in the study itself do not have Adrenal Hypoplasia.

"Enlargement of the clitoris is often a prominent manifestation of virilizing congenital adrenal hyperplasia and other disorders of sexual development. Controversy persists regarding the viability and sensitivity of the clitoris following clitoroplasty. We present 51 consecutive cases of nerve sparing ventral clitoroplasty performed by a single surgeon."

"A total of 51 patients 4 months to 24 years old (mean age ± SD 4.6 ± 6.8 years) with clitorimegaly underwent nerve sparing ventral clitoroplasty."

He is just describing the techniques used on these independent elective clitoroplasties and talking about how it could apply to patients with Adrenal Hypoplasia.

Also, while reading the abstract and text of a study is always a good thing, perhaps read it with a more critical eye the next time before admonishing everyone in the thread.
Posted by ohflattery on June 18, 2010 at 6:08 AM · Report this
238
Here's the thing- no ethics committee actually gave Pappas permission to do these clitoroplasties. They were done, and he asked permission to review his notes and write up a study about it. So there was no independent ethical board sitting to the side and giving him permission to cut these girls clitorises- that is why it is so absurd to defend him saying "Well surely if the other members of the university approved it happening..." They didn't- they just approved him amalgamating notes from these previous surgeries.

The place where he really crosses the line is taking his IRB approval for a retrospective chart review of the surgeries and instead interpreting it as permission to do post-op tests on these little girls. He did not have permission to do that in the name of a study, and without a study justifying it there was NO REASON for him to be conducting these post operative tests. They held no benefit for the patient (as many have said- even if they were insensate he can't go back and reattach the bits), just for his curiosity to see if his amazing 'technique' actually worked. So he went home satisfied with his results and those girls went home with a traumatic experience.
Posted by ohflattery on June 18, 2010 at 6:16 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 239
@ 235, longtime sloggers with a history of insightful comment get a pass around here if they are occasionally provocative. But I believe it is you who needs to cool off, then re-read @202. Nothing he wrote is childish or provocative, especially in context of the comment he was answering. It appears that you're someone who believes so fervently in your cause that you can't assess a differing opinion accurately.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 18, 2010 at 6:29 AM · Report this
240
WHAT THE HELL!!!!! I HAVE A BIG CLIT AND LOVE IT SO DOES EVERY MAN I'VE EVER MET, THAT SOUNDS LIKE TORTURE THIS PIG SHOULD GO TO JAIL!!!!!!!!!
Posted by Hot woman on June 18, 2010 at 6:47 AM · Report this
241
Child rape, child mutilation.

We operate on animals without consent because the possibility that they will regret something is not considerable.

we vaccinate children without consent because otherwise they are going to die.

Posted by Francisco Boni Neto on June 18, 2010 at 7:03 AM · Report this
242
I have twins (2 girls) one was born average and the other had a rather large 'bit' .You know what I did about it? Nothing. You know why? Because if my son (who is un-circumsized) Were to have a extra large 'bit' I wouldn't cut his off either.In truth she 'grew into' it like a puppy with too big feet. About the time she was 11/2 to 2 she was more 'normal' looking . I have a very hard time understanding why this is SO important to these parents anyway . What does your childs sexual organs have to do with you? Even intetrsex children? These things have happened since there have been people so why go through all these life destroying things when simply sitting your child down and telling them of the difference and letting them decide at an adult age what to do about it? I know that came off as sounding dumb to a lot of people who will read this but, really think about it .I would bet there are a lot of people in this world who would love to have had the chance to develop mentally as a child without all of 'this' in their lives ,then at 23 (or whenever) had the surgery IF they chose to. I find it hard to understand how these parents aren't just floored by the guilt of first of all mutilating their infant daughters and secondly watching them literally be assaulted. I can only imagine the confusion in these little girls minds .....mommy tells me about bad touch but, it is ok if she is watching? WTF!!!! I bet they would not line themselves up for this so why do it to a baby who is a whole lifetime away from being a sexual being ,and (not that it is ok for boys either) but, we don't exactly pee standing beside eachother, nor do we get out the combs for a measuring contest. In effect it WOULD be her secret till she was older and was confident enough in her self to live the was SHE chooses. I think it should be the same for boys too with circumcision. There is no medical need for it for either sex .
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Posted by weberly on June 18, 2010 at 7:48 AM · Report this
venomlash 243
Aw, thanks, Matt from Denver. I did mean that comment in all sincerity; this thread has enough argumentative rambling without anyone trying to add to the mix. (And as a guy who IS cut, I think I have a perspective from which to make that earlier statement.)

@240: Of course every man you've ever met has a big clit; it's called a penis. Or did you mean the part about loving it? Don't dangle your modifiers in public.
Posted by venomlash on June 18, 2010 at 7:57 AM · Report this
244
This is just disgusting! As a mother of a little girl I cannot imagine what would possess another mother to allow this person to do this to their child. Plain and simple this is child abuse.
Posted by ragevsmetal on June 18, 2010 at 8:09 AM · Report this
245
These guys must be buddies with John Money.
Posted by judds_gal on June 18, 2010 at 8:37 AM · Report this
246
I never dreamed that this was happening to girls without parental permission. I knew of parents that allowed it to be performed (the surgery)which is possibly more to blame on the medical staff for cohercion of the parents to allow permission to, but never the sensation testing post-op. What do parents have in their conscience about allowing their child to be stimulated for testing sensation. If the nerve function is to be analyzed professionally, I would think that questioning the child could be adaquate. Obviously the child themselves knows if their body feels touch or not. It does seem like the doctor is wrong to think he has priviledge to stimulate the childs genital areas.
I would be furious if any so-callled professional even implied that I had no right to refuse surgical alteration, reduction, or reconstruction to be inflicted on my child. If this's what our laws state, "we cannot refuse it!", the authorities will have to come and better expect a fight; physically and legally! The right of people to have parental authority over their children's wellbeing is worth fighting for IMO!
Posted by Adadmutilatedmysonintact on June 18, 2010 at 8:49 AM · Report this
247
To 146:
Most of these girls aren’t even aware there is anything ‘wrong’ with their clitorises. They are infants. There is no pain or discomfort until a surgeon cuts them. Although they probably are VERY aware of the yearly genital vibrating/touching when they are older.

To 157:
CAH’s life threatening conditions are not treated with genital surgery. The condition remains no matter what they do to body parts they think aren’t normal enough. And our clits only become NON-functioning AFTER a surgeon cuts nerves. The function of a clitoris (as far as my research goes) is about pleasure. Surgeons still don’t know whether they cause nerve damage… that’s why one of them wants to know. But it doesn’t help that child at all. Damage done cannot be undone.

To 163:
Not all women want to have intercourse with a man. To shape our infant bodies believing that “if we build it, they will come” is heterosexism in its most perverse form.

To 165 & 178:
Amen. And 178… I love your screen name too.

To 166:
It is ABSOLUTELY a difficult decision for parents. That’s why every parent should have FULL INFORMED CONSENT and they shouldn’t be rushed into any decision. Remember, these are NON MEDICALLY NECESSARY surgeries done on INFANTS.
COSMETIC SURGERIES done on INFANTS.

To 209:
Sleeping with a woman with a larger than average clitoris is no better/worse than sleeping with a man with a shorter than average penis.
And girls don’t have a small penis in place of a clitoris. IT’s THE SAME ORGAN! When you have an XY child it’s called a penis. When the child is XX it’s called a clitoris. Please pay attention the next time Biology 101 is offered.

To 230:
Welcome to the field of medicine. We need MORE physicians with your outlook. For Clinical guidelines for patient centered care, please go to: www.accordalliance.org
There are Parent Guidelines too – all free & downloadable.

To 240:
Amen to you too. And if a surgeon wanted to ‘normalize’ you, I doubt you'd choose that option!
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Posted by FirstDoNoHarm on June 18, 2010 at 8:54 AM · Report this
248
This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever read. What this man is doing to *children* is awful, if it was any other human being they would be arrested, but because this is a "doctor" it's acceptable. No. Also as a and alli to the gay community anyone having the idea to "fix" lesbianism, is down right awful, and gross. Using a vibrator on a child, this man's medicaal license should be revoked and burnt, and then just for spite he should be punched in the stomach and have his sexual organs clipped and just thrown away.
Posted by glitzandglamour on June 18, 2010 at 9:00 AM · Report this
Allyn 249
What the FUCK!?!?! As a 1) mother of girls, 2) woman and 3) human being, I think the parents who consent to this procedure and follow-up should be arrested, along with this doctor. Who the hell ALLOWS this to happen?!?
Posted by Allyn on June 18, 2010 at 9:00 AM · Report this
250
I never dreamed that this was happening to girls without parental permission. I knew of parents that allowed it to be performed (the surgery)which is possibly more to blame on the medical staff for cohercion of the parents to allow permission to, but never the sensation testing post-op. What do parents have in their conscience about allowing their child to be stimulated for testing sensation. If the nerve function is to be analyzed professionally, I would think that questioning the child could be adaquate. Obviously the child themselves knows if their body feels touch or not. It does seem like the doctor is wrong to think he has priviledge to stimulate the childs genital areas.
I would be furious if any so-callled professional even implied that I had no right to refuse surgical alteration, reduction, or reconstruction to be inflicted on my child. If this's what our laws state, "we cannot refuse it!", the authorities will have to come and better expect a fight; physically and legally! The right of people to have parental authority over their children's wellbeing is worth fighting for IMO!
Posted by Adadcutwithintactson on June 18, 2010 at 9:13 AM · Report this
251
#243 Unless you consented to your cut as an adult, you are in no position to make statements about foreskins, with which you have no experience, nor about the decision to cut (self or non-consenting child), about which you have no experience.

#239 Thanks for the clarification about what is tolerated here. Good to know. You are right about the context of the comment he was answering: #196 obviously didn't read the comment thread before writing, and the comment's tone is off-putting and ignorant. Which is why it didn't deserve a response. Especially a response which is deliberately dismissive and ignorant. That would be called flaming, and, you know, why?
Posted by KLansing on June 18, 2010 at 9:21 AM · Report this
252
@163 and @167: finally voices of reason after over a hundred examples of jump-onto-the-pedophilia-bandwagon exaggeration.

Silvio Levy
Posted by codairem on June 18, 2010 at 9:36 AM · Report this
Leslie N. 253
@251, I think as a man Venomlash has every right to comment on male circumcision (I'm female). He's a male who was circumcised and he's not traumatized. He's perfectly OK with that. I'm guessing he was circumcised for a brit milah, unless his Judaism stems from conversion.

@Venomlash, As a Jewish man, would you have felt left out or odd if you hadn't been circumcised with a bris? It's a hugely important ceremony, after all. Maybe a Jewish boy would feel traumatized that someone didn't make the decision for him and now he doesn't feel Jewish anymore. Perhaps the same goes for a Muslim boy who believes circumcision is important.

Men who are happy being circumcised are told by the anti-circumcision crowd that they don't know any better, that they don't know they were mutilated. Well, maybe they do know better. Maybe they're just happy with their bodies the way they are. Maybe the anti crowd is the one who wants to wave their banner so fervently that they don't realize their views aren't golden truth. Personally, I do feel that circumcision should be a decision made by a consenting adult, but most parents aren't out to traumatize their kids.

Male circumcision aside, this is terrible. Even skimming over the surgery---um, stimulating a child with a vibrator? Really? That sounds like it needs some scientific tweaking. Besides that, how accurate could his results really be? These are probably nervous, scared little girls being touched in their "private" zone by someone they should trust. Didn't their parents warn them about that kind of thing already? Why are Mommy and Daddy changing their minds? Even if I could accept the bizarre protocol, I'm doubtful of any true scientific validity.
Posted by Leslie N. on June 18, 2010 at 11:35 AM · Report this
254
I want to do something. What can I do? I'm already getting the word out around my friends and facebook community, and writing a blog about it (also including some info about how intersex adults feel about having surgery performed on them when they were kids without their permission).

Is there any online petition anywhere? I would prefer if it was started by the students at Cornell University, but I'll sign anything.
Posted by LilithM on June 18, 2010 at 12:03 PM · Report this
255
it wouldn't be tompkins county - weill is in new york. Someone who knows someone who works at the times pass this on. Once this gets in the news - he's done. And, typically, (as an academic myself) I've seen sick bastards like this work with women/black/hispanics whichever on purpose to defray criticism of their perverted/racist/xenophobic fucked up shit.
Posted by djleroy on June 18, 2010 at 12:43 PM · Report this
256
I'm with the dissenters here--- I'm not saying female genital mutilation is okay, nor am I saying that little girls should be molested, I'm saying KNEE JERK REACTION is bad. I'm in the middle of reading the primary sources, and you should too before commenting. Dan's article is talking about the reaction of two writers, so you need to look at the original source. FWIW, I just read that the average clitoris is about 3-4 mm, whereas these patients were between 1 - 4.5 cm. Centimeters. Think about that for a second, and maybe you'll consider that a) the parents were concerned and b) this possibly may have caused extreme irritation/pain.

I'm not done with my research, so I don't know enough to form a complete, informed opinion, it seems that clitoromegaly does seem to happen in intersex people (as an effect, not a cause) so I do question to the wisdom in the procedure. However, I am not about to join a facebook page ranting for this guy's head, without more information. If the guy became a celebrated physician, he must have had patients who were satisfied. And I don't think that anything resembling "female mutilation" and "infant masturbation" would have gotten past multiple administrations in today's litigious age without intense scrutiny, way more than usually happens than a single SL article (sorry Dan).
There must be more to this story.

So please, before your knee jerk outrage, do your research.
Posted by concerned dissenter on June 18, 2010 at 12:57 PM · Report this
257
One of the reasons for circumcising a boy tribally is because the intact penis is "too feminine" and this is sometimes heard in the modern denigration of the foreskin used to justify the surgical procedure. So there is a parallel between these two surgical reductions for "too much of the wrong sex". The foreskin contains ~20,000 specialised nerves (in a uniquely mobile structure, strategically placed) so "[a]ll of the tissues that make up the clitoris—the glans, the stem, the erectile tissues—are important to sexual response, orgasm, and fulfillment, not just the part of the clitoris that's "normally" exposed" is equally true (mutatis mutandis) of males.

The male operation is done every 26 seconds in the US while the Cornell experiments are mercifully rare. Neither fact redeems the unique vileness of cutting a baby girl's genitals and then stimulating them years later to see how much damage one has done.

AAP Bioethics Committee chair Douglas Diekema (who defended the "ritual nick" of girls) earlier said "the request of a parent or surrogate decision-maker is never sufficient to justify a particular clinical intervention" and the Committee's policy on consent says "[P]roviders have legal and ethical duties to their child patients to render competent medical care based on what the patient needs, not what someone else expresses. ... The pediatrician's responsibilities to his or her patient exist independent of parental desires or proxy consent". All this seems to fly out of the window when parents bring whims about their child's genitals in the door.
Posted by Hugh7 on June 18, 2010 at 2:08 PM · Report this
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@253 Leslie N: Maybe if circumcision were somehow augmentative, your argument might have some validity, but it isn't and it doesn't. Circumcision removes, and circumcised men don't know what they are missing. If intact Jewish or Muslim men (and there are many of the first, and maybe the second, somewhere) want to be circumcised they can, and that is fully accepted by their tribes, but many choose not to, and the case for it (like clitoral reduction) to be "a decision made by a consenting adult" applies equally to them.
Posted by Hugh7 on June 18, 2010 at 2:30 PM · Report this
259
This is terrible. I would love to read how this pervert got this past the ethics board. It is mutilation, pure and simple. And how can you justify STIMULATING a childs gentials as good for science. and for that matter WHO CARES if a girls clit is "too big"? This has the potential to sexually scar the child for the rest of her natural life. Utterly horrible, this man should go to jail.
Posted by ShellyLJOH on June 18, 2010 at 2:47 PM · Report this
260
254, you can contact Anne Tamar-Mattis director@aiclegal.org at Advocates for Informed Choice. She is gathering names of people who want to be informed about how they can help with this and future actions.
Posted by 65426543 on June 18, 2010 at 2:55 PM · Report this
261
I love how conversations about womens issues always inevitably derail into mens issues. How refreshing.
Posted by ohflattery on June 18, 2010 at 3:42 PM · Report this
262
Just when you think we are living in a more advanced society, you find you have things like this going on, and in our own backyard. Is there a way to cure social disease?

Is this eventually going to lead to little boys or young men with larger dicks having 'Dick Reduction' operations? This way all the little 'dick' people will not have to feel self concious anymore.

Posted by xunyu on June 18, 2010 at 3:53 PM · Report this
263
Jesus fucking Christ! What the hell is wrong with this doctor? Slicing away genital tissue? Using a fucking vibrator on a child and asking how it feels? How the hell did this get past the IRB- can we say "vulnerable population"?
Posted by Lucy in the Sky on June 18, 2010 at 4:43 PM · Report this
264
This douchebag is CHIEF of Pediatric Urology at Cornell Medical College?!?
Posted by slightlyharmless on June 18, 2010 at 5:43 PM · Report this
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http://www.weillcornell.org/dppoppas/

His phone # and address can be found on this page.

* Phone (212) 746-5337
* Fax (212) 746-8065

* 525 East 68th Street
Suite F-935
* New York, NY 10065
Posted by no2poppas on June 18, 2010 at 5:48 PM · Report this
266
@261

I completely agree. And I'm sick of it.
Posted by Tessa on June 18, 2010 at 5:48 PM · Report this
267
Please contact the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Human Research Protections to file a complaint, here is the contact: http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/about/index.html…

I can't believe this guy is Chief of Pediatric Urology.
Posted by slightlyharmless on June 18, 2010 at 5:53 PM · Report this
268
Sorry, link fail above. Here's the contact info:

Office for Human Research Protections
1101 Wootton Parkway, Suite 200
Rockville, MD 20852

Toll-Free Telephone within the U.S. (866) 447-4777
Telephone: (240) 453-6900
Fax: (240) 453-6909
e-mail: OHRP@hhs.gov
Posted by slightlyharmless on June 18, 2010 at 5:57 PM · Report this
269
@261, 266

Framing the discussion of infant male circumcision as a "men's issue" and juxtaposing it to a "women's issue" is exactly why it needs to be discussed. FGM is rare in the United States outside of certain African immigrant communities. The senseless genital cutting of boys genitals is the abuse happening right next door to you, the one you might contemplate yourself, all with broad societal approval. That is why is deserves mention here.

I am lesbian so penises are more an abstract concept than part of my life, but protecting the rights of all children, boys or girls, is dear to my heart.
Posted by Elisabeth on June 18, 2010 at 6:29 PM · Report this
270
I sent this story to the Joint Commission, in an effort to get them to analyze whether Cornell's medical facilities (which, by the way, are not on the Cornell Campus in Ithaca NY, rather they are in NYC, despite what the author states at the end of the article) should even have funding or accreditation.

How horrifying. And what parent in their right mind would EVER allow ANYONE near their daughter like this? WTF? We don't just have these "doctors" to blame, we also have the parents as well.
Posted by laurael on June 18, 2010 at 6:31 PM · Report this
271
Advocates for Informed Choice is a non-profit organization advocating for the legal and human rights of children with intersex conditions or differences of sex develoment, like the ones in this story. We work in collaboration with bioethicists, doctors, parents, affected adults, and many others. If you are interested in taking action to help protect these children, and to be sure that possible human rights violations are investigated, please join our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Advocates-… or sign up for our Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/aiclegal.
Posted by AICintern on June 18, 2010 at 6:36 PM · Report this
272
Advocates for Informed Choice is a non-profit organization advocating for the legal and human rights of children with intersex conditions or differences of sex develoment, like the ones in this story. We work in collaboration with bioethicists, doctors, parents, affected adults, and many others. If you are interested in taking action to help protect these children, and to be sure that possible human rights violations are investigated, please join our Facebook page at http://ow.ly/20wTY or sign up for our Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/aiclegal.
Posted by AICintern on June 18, 2010 at 6:42 PM · Report this
273
This is Dr. Poppas. I think none of you appreciate the enormity of having to suffer oversized, freakish genitals. (Except males of the African American community.) Left untreated, these girls would have been condemned to an abnormal sex life in which they would have been unable to achieve intercourse without resorting to unladylike pelvic thrusts and even bodily spasms. In any case, I want you all to know that the girls felt no pain. I was very gentle, kissing their nipples etc.
Posted by Cathop on June 18, 2010 at 6:45 PM · Report this
274
@269 While I don't agree with male circumcision, it does not mutilate a penis. Men are still able to have proper sexual function- they can orgasm and do so without pain- as well as the ability to urinate without pain, all without the horrible psychological damage associated.

Also, forgive me, but I give a crap about Africa and what happens to women there just as much as I care about what happens "next door" to me. Especially since there it is not being done under the guise of a study, where they at very least have anaesthetic and a clean environment, but instead in the home, generally with whatever sharp object is nearby. So excuse me for being angry when these two are compared because I do think this is a tad bit more serious, and I am sick and tired of something so traumatic being equated to a practice that millions of men go through with no major regrets. So while I too disagree with male circumcision, maybe we can deal with the more physically and mentally scarring and just generally more heinous matter at hand first.
Posted by ohflattery on June 18, 2010 at 7:31 PM · Report this
275
@269 A side note: maybe it deserves mention here, but it has completely dominated the conversation. And you know what I would love to talk about on this blog entry? FGM. It seems like the place to do it, unless I could find a good male circumcision post to derail into FGM, that might be appropriate.
Posted by ohflattery on June 18, 2010 at 7:41 PM · Report this
276
I'm still upset about not having a foreskin and not sure who to sue or blame for that. The human species is in general screwed up about sex and the naughty parts that are so engorged and tingling at certain times and with certain people. I don't see any culture that has any non-twisted sexual ideas, maybe say the Hawaiian Islands before the arrival of the white man. Or maybe animals who aren't cursed with as devious an intelliegence as the human being. Go ask someone at the UW School of Experimental Psychology what their current project is, one mother I heard on the UWTV channel was happy with their "experimental infant stimulation" and said her child was "flourishing" as a result. But the reason that all that academic and medical jargon and terminology exists is so you can't say "baby rape." I still have people I know that I have to convince that intimate relations among close genetic matches are less savory than their religious tradition (of silence and secrecy) would suggest. Ultimately I'm not too disappointed in that everything still works but my life and surroundings have so damaged my sense of trust in people that getting an actual relationship going would be laden with enough baggage to weigh down her as well as me as well as anyone who would be so burdened as to have to hear about it. So here's a big "thumbs up" to YouPorn for filling in that missing piece of my artificial life.
Posted by Too Much Information on June 18, 2010 at 8:26 PM · Report this
277
Not having read every comment, I may have missed this in another's post, but to me it smacks of control over and hatred of females. This prick is in the perfect position to convince parents that he is doing this for their childs welfare, all the while gleefully and patiently waiting for his next victim. I would love to know what his history and family life are like. My guess is that there are closets bursting with skeletons. What if he actually did very little to the kids during surgery and this was his method of having a life long supply of victims that will come to him, every year?
Posted by Hoptoad4 on June 18, 2010 at 8:52 PM · Report this
278
Another spectacular example of the depravity humanity is capable of. I weep for the girls that have been permanently damaged.
Posted by LogicKillsGods on June 18, 2010 at 9:16 PM · Report this
279
For all this talk of "derailing", nobody is defending these experiments, just pointing out an operation that is much more common (1.2 million annually, compared with 51 in 2007) but not dissimilar - and not nearly as "nerve-sparing". The paper itself says "In 2002, a consensus statement recommended that it is crucial to preserve the neurovascular bundle, the glans and the preputial skin of the glans if clitoral reduction is to be performed."

Since the children have all been diagnosed with "clitoromegaly" a "disorder" on the "intersex" spectrum associated with "ambiguous genitalia", it's debatable whether these operations are not, in fact, penis reductions. These "girls" may grow up to identify as men and complain bitterly that that is just what they were subjected to.
Posted by Hugh7 on June 18, 2010 at 9:18 PM · Report this
280
"They appear to try to be addressing this condition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congenital_…

If you read the abstract to the work done in 2007: http://www.jurology.com/article/S0022-53…

The sensitivity is to check if the sexual development of the patients is normal.

For those who are upset by this, what do you think the motive of the doctor's is in doing this research?

I think in biology you can almost always find someone who thinks it is immoral."
Posted by anon00909 on June 18, 2010 at 10:42 PM · Report this
281
Hate to add my $0.02 worth but you know they've been mutilating little boys for many many years and in some cultures centuries, just because the parents don't want to take the time to teach the kid how to skin it back and keep it clean. No one seems to mind that though. Matter of fact it's thought gross if they don't have their male child circumsized. Have you ever watched while they strap a male infant that's only a few days old to a restraining board and cut off his foreskin? I can tell you they don't much care for it. I know,,, it's just excess skin,,, and he's just a boy. So it's no big deal,,, RIGHT?
Posted by $0.02 Worth on June 18, 2010 at 10:53 PM · Report this
282
Just sent off an email...I almost applied to attend Cornell last year
Posted by Kaelen on June 18, 2010 at 10:55 PM · Report this
283
"@269 A side note: maybe it deserves mention here, but it has completely dominated the conversation. And you know what I would love to talk about on this blog entry? FGM. It seems like the place to do it, unless I could find a good male circumcision post to derail into FGM, that might be appropriate."

And you know what -I- would love to talk about on this blog entry? GM. It seems it's pissing people off that we are exposing the double-standard that exists in this country.

FGM is happening in this country, and people are outraged. But here's the thing; this is what SHOULD be happening. If the blatant human rights violation weren't that obvious and people didn't care, THEN it would be a problem.

It is kind of hypocritical that people are outraged about what's happening to perfectly healthy girls, but no one seems to think it's a problem that boys are mutilated daily in this country, people can't seem to produce enough "studies" that legitimizes mutilation, and this is not a problem.

The principle violated in the girls in these experiments is the exact same principle violated in boys 3,000 times a day in this country. The only thing that differs is the sex. That cutting up the genitals of one sex is "normal," but "mutilation" in the other is a double-standard.

Unless you're willing to talk about the boys, then shut the heck up about the girls.

It's none of your business what parents want to have done to their children.

Does that sound familiar to you?
Posted by Joseph4GI on June 19, 2010 at 3:16 AM · Report this
284
@ohflattery

"forgive me, but I give a crap about Africa and what happens to women there just as much as I care about what happens "next door" to me. Especially since there it is not being done under the guise of a study, where they at very least have anaesthetic and a clean environment, but instead in the home, generally with whatever sharp object is nearby. So excuse me for being angry when these two are compared because I do think this is a tad bit more serious, and I am sick and tired of something so traumatic being equated to a practice that millions of men go through with no major regrets. So while I too disagree with male circumcision, maybe we can deal with the more physically and mentally scarring and just generally more heinous matter at hand first."

This post is kind of hard to understand. I'll try to address it as best I can...

If what happens to women in Africa pisses people off, shouldn't it be pissing people off MORE that this is actually being allowed in one's own country?

When something is a violation of basic human rights, does it really matter that it is done at a hospital, in a sterile environment, by a trained professional, with clean tools, with anaesthesia?

"I am sick and tired of something so traumatic being equated to a practice that millions of men go through with no major regrets. So while I too disagree with male circumcision, maybe we can deal with the more physically and mentally scarring and just generally more heinous matter at hand first."

I am sick and tired of people trying to convince me that an action is "different" when it is performed at a hospital than it is in the bush. Or when it is performed on a girl, than it is performed on a boy. Or when it is performed with anaesthetic, than it is performed without. Or when the subject is a baby instead of a teenager being held down.

When an action is a violation of basic human rights, does it really matter where it is done? Who it's done by? That it is done with pain killers? That it is done with clean utensils? That it is done to a child when s/he will be too young to remember? That it is done under the guise of a "study?"

Maybe a rapist can get away with having his way with a girl in a coma because "she won't remember." Maybe he can get away with it if he were a doctor in a white lab coat, and calling it a "study." "We're trying to see if having sex with a person in a coma will affect her." Uh... yeah.

There is always some "excuse" as to why they're not comparable, is there.

The action is the same.

You cannot condemn an action in one instance, but then condone it when it happens in your home country.

Boys have been circumcised in this country for a century under the guise of "medicine." There is a long list of "studies" that attempt to legitimize taking a healthy, non-consenting individual and cut off a piece of his penis which people try to argue tooth and nail that is "useless" and "extra." (Just like the length of the clitorises in this "study.")

"Studies" attempting to legitimize infant genital mutilation have been written for YEARS.

Now we have ONE "study," trying to legitimize taking a healthy girl to cut off the "extra" part of her body, and we have this "outrage." Absolute double-think. This commentary is the perfect place to bring it up. Unless you can talk about the mutilation that happens 3,000 times to BOYS in this country, then there is nothing to talk about. A doctor mutilates girls and calls it "medical science." People get outraged. But guess what; they're SUPPOSED to. That's not nothing new. There's no new dialogue or discourse going on.

That taking a girl and cutting out part of her genitals is mutilation is acknowledged and agreed upon. You don't need to convince anyone on here of that.

The question that needs to be asked is, why don't we feel the same disdain when the same thing happens to boys?

It's done by a doctor; it's done at a hospital; it's done with clean tools; it's done with anaesthesia; it's done by parents that want it; it's done to "fix" what parents and doctors have agreed "isn't normal."

So how is this "different" and "not comparable" with male circumcision, where it is done at a hospital, with clean tools, when "he can't remember," with parental consent, to "fix" the foreskin?

By the way, what's WRONG with a body part that every male human child is born with that it needs to be "fixed?"
More...
Posted by Joseph4GI on June 19, 2010 at 3:37 AM · Report this
285
I think most of what I wanted to say has been said. But in closing, this "study" is a complete outrage. It is absolutely DISGUSTING what this quack is trying to pass off as "medical science." It is absolutely outrageous that what is supposed to be an institution of higher education has actually funded and accomodated it.

Usually, science tries to find a solution to a problem. To present a "solution" first and then to try to support it by searching for uses for it is backwards. Trying to find a surgical "solution" for girls who aside from "unusually large" clitorises are perfectly healthy is sickening and disgusting.

The person who should be consenting to these "procedures" should be the girls themselves IF AND WHEN they believe their condition to be a "problem."

The notion that just because an individual is born with ambiguous genitalia a doctor is entitled to a science experiment is ethically repugnant. In the past, boys with micropenis were re-assigned as girls. Some grew to like it, but I've read of quite a few accounts where boys, no matter how hard doctors tried, could not be reasigned as girls.

These "experiments" and "studies" violate the basic human rights of healthy, non-consenting individuals, and they should stop.

But, as a side note, just as "studies" that try to legitimize female genital mutilation cause outrage, the same should go for "studies" that try to legitimize male genital mutilation. This is but a one FGM "study," there is a long list for male circumcision. WHY is it acceptable to try and scientifically legitimize the needless genital mutilation of healthy male babies, but even a single FGM "study" incites outrage?

The AAP looks the other way for baby boys. Just last month, it tried to ratify a "ritual nick" in girls, for the same reason we allow male circumcision in boys; "because it's culture; we need to be more culturally sensitive." Well, the world told the AAP that we will not allow as much as "a nick" to happen at hospitals in the name of "culture," etc. It is a double-standard that "not a nick" should be allowed in girls for ANY reason whatsoever, but with male circumcision, suddenly "culture and tradition" is important.

Just like this "study" enrages us, so too should we be enraged when some "doctor" says he's found some "new and innovative" use for circumcising healthy baby boys.

The bottom line is the same; when it comes to a person's genitals, it should be HIS/HER body, HIS/HER choice.

The this issue is much more related to male infant circumcision than people care to realize.

If we can't talk about needless genital alteration of healthy individuals of either sex, then this commentary is pretty much worthless.

FGM is horrible. DUH! Now let's talk about the MGM that happens daily in our country.

"No but..."

No but you're no better than people in Africa then. Quit trying to pretend you're just so much "civilized."
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Posted by Joseph4GI on June 19, 2010 at 4:01 AM · Report this
286
This is hideous, yes, but I still can't get over the phrase "surgically feminized clitoris"...

Opposed as they are to the techniques of this doctor, even Alice Dreger and Ellen Feder seem to implicitly buy in to the idea that men and women do and should conform to socially approved appearance standards, and that those standards are appropriately applied to genital size.

"surgically feminized clitoris"
It's a clitoris - you can't get much more feminine than that.
Posted by you on June 19, 2010 at 8:20 AM · Report this
287
A few points. I'm Intersexed, and so is my son. Both of us have had genital reconstruction. In his case, as an infant, to ensure urinary continence and relieve increasing pain. My case was more radical, but performed with informed consent as an adult.

1. Genital mutilation of Intersexed infants happens routinely. When sex reassignment is performed so the operation is easiest, one in three end up effectively transsexual, where their assigned sex differs from their sex identity. Where extreme care is taken to guess as accurately as possible what the gender identity is likely to be, this shrinks to 10% - still a completely unacceptable figure.

The most common operation though is clitoral reduction for cosmetic purposes.

2. The "vibrator" in the exam here is not a sex toy. Here, I'll quote from the paper:
"Patients older than 5 years were considered candidates for CST. CST was performed using a cotton tip applicator.
Using a scale of 0—no sensation to 5—maximum sensation, the patient was asked to report the degree of sensation at various points of the inner thigh and genitalia (labia majora,
labia minora, vaginal introitus and clitoris). Inner thigh stimulation was set at level 3 for each patient and used as a baseline to compare other areas tested. In addition, these
patients also had vibratory sensory testing performed using a biothesiometer designed to quantify the ability of patients to detect vibratory stimuli. A biothesiometer is most commonly
used in testing for neurological diseases, such as peripheral neuropathy.6 The device generates a vibratory stimulus of varying amplitudes that can be gradually increased
until the sensation is perceived by patients. A quantitative measure was established by recording the amplitude of vibration (on a scale from 1 to 10), which correlated with
the threshold. The amplitude of vibration was inversely proportional to vibratory sensing ability."

Now I have EXTREME misgivings about subjecting 5 year olds to such tests. A 14 year old able to understand the usefulness of the test to improve treatment, and able to consent - or NOT consent - that is a different matter.

3. Genital Mutilation is not a necessary part of treatment for CAH. 46,XX people with CAH usually have a female gender identity, but 10% identify as males. For them, such surgery would be catastrophic in every sense of the word.

From the paper:
" Of these patients 46 (90%) were genetic females with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, 3 (6%) were 46 XY who had undergone sex reassignment surgeries and 2 (4%) were 46 XX disorder of sexual development."

Note that 3 of the babies were born with penises judged too small to be acceptable, so these were reduced using the same techniques, and female external genitalia fashioned. With castration as needed.

I find that... difficult to write. It makes my blood boil. knowing that such surgeries happen routinely is very difficult to deal with. We - IS advocates such as OII - have been trying to get this stopped. This publicity will help there.

We advise only such surgery as is medically necessary when young. For example, for fecal or urinary continence, or to reduce discomfort. Long-term cancer risks are not to be used as an excuse for butchery. In all cases, surgery should not compromise fertility nor sensation.

When the patient is old enough to give informed consent - that will depend on individual cases, but is usually between 12-15, then more radical or cosmetic surgical options should be made available to them.

I cannot agree that this doctor is a "child molester" in the usual sense of the term. I think his experimentation, for the highest motives, violates ethical boundaries. It's an attitude suitable for work on an experimental animal, but not on a human being. A mistake, a gross mistake, but one of judgement rather than morals.

A far bigger issue is the medically accepted practice of mutilating intersexed kids in the first place. He's just trying to minimise the damage from that, and should be commended for it. But censured for having any part of this barbarity in the first place, even though it is "accepted practice". So much so that such surgeries have been performed against the parents directly expressed wishes, without it being deemed malpractice by the courts.
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Posted by Zoe Brain on June 19, 2010 at 8:27 AM · Report this
288
First of all, medical research at Cornell is more likely to be at Cornell-Weill Medical Center in New York City - not in Ithaca. Second, most, if not all, medical research is funded by a US Fedral Government grant, either NSF or NIH, and I am sure this was as well. Third, Cornell Medical is technically merged with Columbia, so they get some of the blame as well. Fourth, all of this should be documented somewhere on the articles purblished that report the "findings". Fifth, last time I looked, what is reported here as this man's doing is AGAINST THE LAW, and shoudl be reported ASAP. Just find out where this is taking place, and call the police. I am going to look up the article, print it out, and send it anywhere I think it will do some good, the NYC DA, the State Attorney General, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Oh, and the Medical Board of Ethics, although a more impotent bunch of people you will never see elsewhere (and yes, I chose the word deliberately).

I'm a doctoral candidate in social work, and I have gone through hell getting MY research approved, and all I want to do is ask people questions on a written survey! How this gets through IRB is beyond me. And honestly? I don't care what any doctor or pediatric society or anyone who thinks they know anything says, cutting into the glans of a clitoris is NOT like cutting the forskin off from around a penis, it's like cutting off a piece of the HEAD of a penis.

And what lunatic decided the size of a clitoris has anything to do with anything? And so much so that it requires surgery to rectify? This guy is Mengele. There is NO justification for anything that he is doing. He needs to be stopped.
Posted by bdholtzman on June 19, 2010 at 8:33 AM · Report this
289
I'm absolutely opposed to these unnecessary surgeries (with a *possible* exception if a child requests it, which is very unlikely), but I don't understand the furor over testing to see whether the surgery was successful. How else is a surgeon ever to know whether a surgery was successful other than by testing? I don't buy the unfounded assertion that the application of a vibrator will harm anyone, but I *can* see how some children would find the experience in front of witnesses unduly embarrassing.
Posted by Baldur on June 19, 2010 at 9:05 AM · Report this
290
Forget the vibrators for minute. Forget the fact that this clearly didn't pass any ethics board worthy of the title.

We're looking at criminal non-therapeutic amputations of the exact sort congress meant to prohibit in 1996. It has been illegal since the law took effect in 1997.

Why are these monsters walking the streets?
Posted by TLCTugger on June 19, 2010 at 9:36 AM · Report this
291
I'm still against this type of surgery in almost all cases, but since some posters have claimed that these large clitorises may only be *proportionally* large and a girl may grow into them, I'll just point out that at the lower range (1 cm, about 3/8 inch) this is correct, but at the larger end of the range (4.5 cm, over 1-3/4 inches) this would be large even for an adult.
Posted by Baldur on June 19, 2010 at 9:43 AM · Report this
292
I don't have a problem if someone wanted to be mutilated like this... but I think that's very unlikely. If someone asked to mutilate your genitals, would you be willing to? Most likely not, so why is genital mutilation - of either gender - ever legal to do to young children against their will? It is a sick tradition that needs to be outlawed, except in the rare cases where it's necessary to save someone's life. No one should get to hide behind their religion to mutilate their children against their will.
Posted by against mutilation on June 19, 2010 at 10:50 AM · Report this
293
The article you quote, and most of the comments, somewhat dance around the glaring fact that this man is a pedophile who is sexually abusing these children. People with adult orientated sexuality don't place vibrators on the sexual organs of six year olds.
Posted by camipco on June 19, 2010 at 12:34 PM · Report this
294
HERE IS HIS EMAIL ADDRESS

dpoppas@med.cornell.edu

What do you have to say to him????
Posted by avengers1965 on June 19, 2010 at 12:59 PM · Report this
Delishuss 295
@289 I understand the argument that he was doing a study and he needed to perform a follow-up to determine the results of his study, but divorce yourself from medical objectivity for a minute and consider that this is an adult stimulating the genitalia of children - children who aren't old enough to even consent to the surgery that they've undergone, let alone old enough to understand why it's okay for the doctor to play with their clits, but not other trusted adults. Also consider the fact that the follow-up is only useful as pertains to his study. If he fucked up and they have no sensation left in their clits, it's not like he can go back and fix it. The follow-up procedure only satisfies his own curiosity. Also, consider that there was no control group - meaning, no children with clitoromegaly or CAH who had not undergone the surgery - that he performed the genital stimulation on to compare sensitivity to the children who had. That's because for the post-operative children it's "follow-up," but for kids who haven't been operated on, it's much closer to "molestation." So everyone who argues that this is science and it was just follow-up, which is what you need to logically do if you're performing an experiment, needs to keep in mind that he didn't even complete the research that would be needed to "legitimize" his experimental procedure.

We live in a society where the stigma of child rape is so great that pedophiles in prison get shanked before murderers do. Everyone on this thread who jumps on the molestation bandwagon believes that there is never an acceptable reason for an adult to be fucking with a kid's genitals, and that includes doctors. The welfare of children is more important than experimental medical science. Medical objectivity isn't really objective, it's just a way of saying that the field of medicine is more important than the patients.

And by the way, being made to show your genitals to your doctor when you're six years old and then being told that you have to let him touch your private bits is probably embarrassing whether there are witnesses in the room or not. I would think that parents would probably want to stay in the room for that part of the procedure.
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Posted by Delishuss on June 19, 2010 at 1:02 PM · Report this
296
"There's another disturbing reason this surgery is being performed: girls with large clitorises are more likely to identify as lesbians when they grow up."

There is no evidence to back this up, researchers at one thought so. But this was based on biased assumptions of sexist doctors of the time. Why are you repeating this pseudo-scientific information? This is an intersex issue, not a gay issue.

Please offer credible evidence this true or pontificate about something you know about.
Posted by knows the facts on June 19, 2010 at 1:37 PM · Report this
297
If anyone feels like writing this sicko a letter, or calling him:
Phone (212) 746-5337
Fax (212) 746-8065
525 East 68th Street
Suite F-935
New York, NY 10065
dpoppas@med.cornell.edu
Posted by disgusted1234 on June 19, 2010 at 2:04 PM · Report this
298
Dear God what can you say about these people. Dr. Mengeles (of Nazi Concentration fame) is alive and well and living among us.
Posted by greatgem on June 19, 2010 at 2:24 PM · Report this
299
Cocks and pussies...no wonder you guys never win elections.
Posted by Asian1981 on June 19, 2010 at 4:27 PM · Report this
300
Throw this bastard in jail! Blah! Pervert!...little kids for f-sake!
Posted by hb on June 19, 2010 at 5:49 PM · Report this
301
I THINK ANOTHER TERM FOR THIS IS FEMALE CIRCUMCISION. EVERYONE IS OBJECTING, BUT I SEE NOTHING DIFFERENT FROM HAVING BABY BOYS CIRCUMCISED. WOULD YOU CIRCUMCISE YOUR SONS? ASIDE FROM THE VIBRATION-- HOW IS IT DIFFERENT?!?

FEMALE CIRCUMCISION IS A COMMON PRACTICE IN AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AS MALE CIRCUMCISION IS COMMON HERE IN THE US.

PERSONALLY, I OBJECT TO ALL FORMS OF CIRCUMCISION AKA "GENITAL MUTILATION".
Posted by CallingTheKettleBlack on June 19, 2010 at 10:57 PM · Report this
302
Calling the KettleBlack & anyone who sees this as the same - In my view what you are referring to - the removal of a young boys foreskin is different to what is being referred to in this article. If you remove the foreskin from a males penis he will still have the full feeling of his member and in some cases this is done to improve the feeling if the skin is tight or restricting in someway. In the case of these females if you read the article full nerve tissue is being removed not skin, muscle and fully functioning nerve endings which are part of the stimulation/feeling sexually for a woman. Doing this to a female is in effect taking off a males bell end not just his foreskin. Yes it is a different feeling for a male, none the less fully functional.
Yes it is a practice in parts of Africa, but it is not one that is good, nessccarily right or consenting. Women as well as children are treated with such poor disregard. When we don't understand something it is pulled apart and destroyed instead of allowing exploration, asking questions or taking a softer approach. It is insecurity that leads to these destructive actions, it is fear and ignorance. Human beings are amazing, we are different and diverse, why do we have to mutilated to feel better.
My passion for this article comes from being able to relate to part of the piece and the fact I have the freedoms I do. As a black female living in London I have so much choice. If I had been born in Africa I may have been damaged in this way. If I was a young girl living near Cornell I would be part of this research, with only my parents to protect me, who may not be as well informed as they should be.
Are these young woman being asked how they feel about this? Do they have a choice? There are times in this world when animals have more rights than women, how is that right?
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Posted by mooschief on June 20, 2010 at 3:23 AM · Report this
303
[MOB: We have found a witch! May we burn her?

[KNIGHT: How do you know she is a witch?

[MOB: She looks like one!

[WOMAN: They dressed me up like this! And this isn't my nose, it's a false one!

[MOB: Well, we did do the nose. And the hat. But she has got a wart!]

The thing I find horrifying about this story is the vast numbers of people, many claiming to possess college degrees, who read a post based on a blog located on a site belonging to an organization with a clear, established political position; believed every word of it; and immediately began tweeting, emailing, and reposting the story alongside demands that the doctor involved be publicly castrated and flogged. At this point we have people wholeheartedly embracing a repost of a repost of a rewrite of a completely one-sided opinion piece and burning up the Internet with their outrage.

Don't they teach critical thinking in college anymore?

When critical thinkers read a ghastly story, written entirely from one side using inflammatory language, they do not think, "My god, one of the best medical colleges in the country, with a global reputation for excellent clinical services, is permitting a sadistic pervert to lop off children's clitorises for No Good Reason and then force the parents to watch while he molests them! I must drop everything and write scathing letters and urge others to do the same!"

Critical thinkers know that if something sounds too horrendous to be true, it probably isn't. Critical thinkers start looking for the other side of the story.

I know it's hard to tear yourself away from this orgy of unreflective condemnation, but an hour on Google researching this particular travesty yields the following information:

The doctor involved is a widely- respected pediatric urologist.

The condition referred to does not just result in "slightly enlarged clitorises." At its moderate to most pronounced form, it results in a clitoris that looks so much like a penis, the fetus is often identified as male by trained sonographers; the newborn is confirmed as male by the obstetrics team; and the first clue that the child is in fact female is when the doctor diagnoses undescended testicles, ultrasounds the baby, and finds a uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and a vagina--which is sometimes conjoined with the urethra, which is where a pediatric urologist comes in. If you are a critical thinker, you will see why this might actually necessitate surgery.

A chief criticism of clitoris reduction is that it damages nerves and leaves the girl with no sexual sensation. The doctor at the center of this storm believed he could modify the procedure to leave the nerves intact. A critical thinker would wonder how else a doctor might test nerve viability following surgery. A doctor who worried that surgery on a person's hand has damaged some nerves would poke it with a pin.

A critical thinker also wonders why the holy hell everyone is in a twist over the fact that the child's parents were in the room. Exactly how does that it make so much worse?

A critical thinker asks why people are so overwrought at the thought of this test anyway. Do they have a problem with the idea that children have sexual feelings? Or do they believe that a child who has be taught not to let anyone EXCEPT a doctor or parent touch her there will suddenly associate a doctor's touch with sex, instead of assuming that the doctor is just doing what doctors do--examining a patient?

Of course it's embarrassing. But it needn't be scarring, unless the kid happened across the original blog, which describes the procedure in terms more pornographic than academic.

We can argue over whether parents should agree to this surgery. But can we take a moment from our festival of moral revulsion to look at it from their point of view? These are not soccer moms who think their daughters would be more perfect with a slimlined clitoris. These are new parents with one hell of a shock. Within 24 hours after the joyful birth of a son, they learn that their baby is a girl with a serious medical condition that will require lifelong treatment--and she has what will look to any casual observer like a penis. Remember what monsters kids can be toward a child who is even mildly different? Imagine what would happen if word gets around in third grade that your precious daughter has a penis. These parents aren't thinking cosmetically, they are thinking protectively, and they deserve our compassion, not knee-jerk condemnation.

Of course it would be a better world if everyone treated differences with respect instead of instinctive horror and disgust. But judging from the hysteria surrounding this very biased, very sensationalized story, it will take a couple more cycles of human evolution before even proponents of that point of view can react from a place of calm rationality instead of pure, overheated emotion.

[KNIGHT: And what do you burn apart from witches?

[MOB: More witches!]
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Posted by BarbWire on June 20, 2010 at 8:59 AM · Report this
304
@303

Alternatively, people who have both critical thinking and a working knowledge of the kind of medical atrocities performed by "well-meaning" doctors throughout history and are, or have listened to, adult intersexed individuals and the physiological trauma they exhibit from having had genital surgery without their consent AND are, or have listened to, people who were molested as children --- all of these people find the act of this to be an atrocity.

So maybe you're the one who needs a little more education.

Also, FYI, children will also be absolute monsters to someone who wears a funny colored shirt or likes to sit quietly in a corner reading a book, or has buck teeth, or doesn't wear name brand shoes, and frankly, many adults aren't that better, so I seriously, seriously don't think that anyone should be making judgements about their children's bodies based on how the public will treat them. You can change someone's opinion of you a lot faster than your body.
Posted by grayshield on June 20, 2010 at 11:43 AM · Report this
305
Barbwire- yes indeed, critical thinkers might think those points. Informed thinkers, on the other hand, might know that:

1. There is no medical reason to reduce these childrens' clitorises

2. There is no evidence of any kind that having a clitoris larger than the norm causes any sort of developmental or psychological problems

3. Since there is no reason do be doing the surgeries in the first place, there is no need to develop better techniques for it

4. Widely respected doctors have done far worse throughout history

5. People who have gone through this sort of thing almost universally report that it was traumatizing, especially, if say, the child's parents were in the room watching with approval

Those are some things an informed thinker might think.
Posted by lizdhm on June 20, 2010 at 11:46 AM · Report this
Vickie1701 306
Hi,
My penis was cut off just for being to large? it was only 2 1/2 inches. Women don't have a penis. So mine was cut off. Well Men have a penis, and now this Man doesn't. I want it back.
Andrea' Thats An-Drea like the wrestler.
Posted by Vickie1701 http://www.myspace.com/intersex101 on June 20, 2010 at 11:53 AM · Report this
307
This is absolutely appalling. They are now telling you not to circumcisize penis' but this guy is starting on little girls. How horrible and disgusting.
Posted by gracefulsiren on June 20, 2010 at 12:19 PM · Report this
308
You understand that the fact that you consider this surgery "an atrocity" does not make it so, right? I mean, I think it's an atrocity when I see grossly overweight people loading their grocery carts with junk food, but I also know that that's an opinion, not a fact.

And since you've been careful to explore both sides of this issue, you know that many women who have had the surgery are grateful that it was done while they were young, right?

Posted by BarbWire on June 20, 2010 at 1:07 PM · Report this
309
Anyway, I'm not here to register an opinion about this surgery. I'm here to ask people to do some research before they start smearing someone all over the Internet.
Posted by BarbWire on June 20, 2010 at 1:10 PM · Report this
310
There's a Facebook page against this now, if anyone wants to join.
https://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=1…
Posted by CT11993 on June 20, 2010 at 1:38 PM · Report this
311
Cornell's Institutional Review Board is clearly an epic fail. This research is blatantly unethical and never should have gotten past them. The best treatment for the condition these girls have is NO TREATMENT. Leave it alone and let them decide as adults if they want to be operated on. Whatever harm a big clit might cause, it's nothing compared to the harm of being mutilated and then molested by a doctor in front of your parents.
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on June 20, 2010 at 1:49 PM · Report this
312
It's not that shocking really... Our country already seems to think genital mutilation if perfectly decent in the form of circumcision.
Posted by Paint-Me-Tainted on June 20, 2010 at 2:13 PM · Report this
Delishuss 313
@BarbWire
Your request implies the assumption that the people here haven't read the study, that the general indignation on this thread is uninformed, and that if we only read it, we'd be persuaded to see things from an "objective" point of view.
I've read the study, I'm still indignant, and I remain of the opinion that not only is this surgery, which amounts to cosmetic reconstruction, wholly unnecessary, but potentially psychologically scarring for these children. The number of girls who are grateful that they had the surgery done young doesn't negate the number of kids who are damaged by surgery like this, particularly when you consider that the grateful girls weren't given a choice and will never be able to know any differently.
Your insistence on objectivity, your defense of Dr. Poppas on the grounds that he is widely respected, and your call for us to inform ourselves reeks of arrogance.
Posted by Delishuss on June 20, 2010 at 2:50 PM · Report this
314
I imagine this is being sold to parents as a "fix" for hermaphroditism, right? That a large clitoris is being described as a freakish penis that will make it impossible for them to be "normal" women with "normal" sexual and psychological development. You know, the kind of normal sexual and psychological development that happens after being masturbated yearly by a doctor with your parents watching. Doctors need to stop pushing conformity as the epic goal of childhood and parents need to get over their misguided hopes that their children will "fit in" with all the other kids. "Normal" is boring and overrated anyway, and surgeries on children too young to possibly give informed consent just to accomplish normality are often times more about the parents than the child. Who will be more embarrassed about a larger than normal easy to find clitoris: the girl who has it or the parent who has to explain it to family and baby sitters? Same with extra toes, foreskin, and whatever else culture tells us to hack off at birth.
Posted by charlie on June 20, 2010 at 4:27 PM · Report this
315
I am shocked and disgusted! This 'doctor' is a pedophile, can't anyone see that? I can't believe a parent would allow this to happen to their daughter.
Posted by dizzikitty on June 20, 2010 at 6:42 PM · Report this
316
Big fucking deal. Guys have been circumcised for ages, and now that it's happening to women, they get all squeemish. get over it.
Posted by modernistarchitect on June 20, 2010 at 9:00 PM · Report this
317
@joseph4GI

Apparently, I'm "no better than people in Africa then." Really? I, a commenter, am as bad as the people who cut off little girls clitorises? Really? I astonish myself- my comments must have been positively scarring to approach those levels. Next you'll be comparing me to a child molester or Hilter. Anyways, no matter how angry I was or how very much I disagree with you, I certainly haven't resorted to name calling. You just took this from passionate discussion to bitchfest. Congrats.

"You cannot condemn an action in one instance, but then condone it when it happens in your home country."

I don't condone it, as I stated previously. But I do think its an entirely different discussion.

First of all, to actually 'circumcise' a girl would be to remove the clitoral hood. Removing the clitoris is comparable to cutting off the head of the penis, not the foreskin. Even more, in this study he was actually cutting off the female equivalent of a man's shaft. So, again, not foreskin. Its like a doctor looks at you and says, "Well, 7 inches is the average male penis and yours is 10. We should remove 3 inches to prevent you from having psychological and social problems!"

There are vastly different effects as well. A cleanly performed male circumcision still allows for proper penile function- that is, you can pee, have sex, not experience pain during sex, and even enjoy sex. FGM removes all pleasure from sex, and makes it a horribly painful experience. That’s actually the point of it in the cultures that practice it. Oftentimes the wound gets infected, in severe cases even developing gangrene. Girls are more likely to develop yeast and urinary tract infections, experience excruciating pain when they urinate, or even take away a girls ability to urinate properly.

Also, you imply that circumcision has no benefits. Many studies have shown it to reduce female to male HIV transmission as well as the transmission of other STDs. Whether or nor you agree with those studies is up to you, but there are no studies showing any benefits to FGM- quite the opposite. Also, you act as if everyone who has their child circumcised is cruel or blindly following the masses, instead of just following their own opinions of these studies. (Just because you put quotes around the word studies does not actually discredit them) Also, cut cocks are easier to keep clean. It’s a fact. You may not value this over having your foreskin, but again, thats your call.

"Unless you're willing to talk about the boys, then shut the heck up about the girls."

I am willing to talk about the boys, in a setting that doesn't detract from what happens to the girls. Because they're not the same! FGM and male circumcision are two very different things!

While male circumcision is a legitimate ethical conversation, FGM never is. But because FGM rarely even gets mentioned (I've yet to see this hit the national media, for example) its important to focus on it while its in spotlight.

The fact is, there are lots of people that don't know about FGM, or what it means or that it happens- its not talked about a lot in our society. You act as if FGM gets talked about incessantly while the dubious nature of male circumcision is ignored- I'd say they're talked about both pretty equally. Actually, male circumcision may actually be talked about more, because no one goes onto those blogs and derails the conversation to FGM. I would like to actually thank you for talking about FGM at the end of your (very long) response, as that’s more than most of the derailing posters have done on here. Though I wouldn't just leave it at "FGM is horrible. DUH!" as there are actually some people on here arguing for the surgeries- clearly its not as widely hated as we'd like to think.

Finally, while I do disagree with male circumcision, I also think they have different levels of urgency. To me, this discussion is like a deity saying to you- "You can stop all murders or all assaults." Frankly, I'm going to pick murders, as to me it seems like the worse of two terrible things. Same thing here. Not because its happening to girls, but because it is a completely different matter.

So to wrap things up with a quote from Dan-

"The problem with most anti-circumcision activists[…] is a tendency to wildly overstate the anti-circumcision case.

"When you claim that "a man loses much of his capacity for sexual pleasure when he's cut," all the cut guys out there reading your letter -- guys like me and my boyfriend and most every guy we know, gay and straight -- think, "Hey, I'm cut, and I derive plenty of 'sexual pleasure' from my cock. These anti-circumcision crybabies are full of shit." And comparing male circumcision (the removal of the foreskin) to female genital mutilation (the removal of the clitoris) doesn't help, either. Removing the clit is comparable to cutting off the head of the penis, not the foreskin, and comparing the two procedures comes off as cheap, "me too" victim mongering. A little less hysteria, a little less overstatement, and a lot less anti-Semitic rhetoric, and anti-cutting forces might change more people's minds."
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Posted by ohflattery on June 20, 2010 at 9:04 PM · Report this
318
Hey Barbwire~

You can find lots of research about the aftermath of these surgeries in psychological studies. I've never seen anything but story after story of people who describe their bodies as having been "mutilated," and the violation of their trust in parents and doctors. The people in these studies look into your eyes and beg you to accept people who are different. To leave other peoples' bodies the flying fuck alone.

If you really do believe there are women out there who are happy with their surgically reduced clitorises, please post a source.

And I'm sure since you are such a college educated critical thinker you know that Wikipedia isn't really a medical resource, right?
Posted by kathy. on June 20, 2010 at 9:15 PM · Report this
319
I was circumcised at 3 and a half - My parents were assured that I was too young to remember it. Yeah, right! I remember every bit of that day right up to the rubber mask and the ether. And I remember waking up in a vast hall full of steel barred cribs and screaming with the burning between my legs.

I'm 47xxy and I'm the son of a mother who was given Diethylstilbesterol to prevent miscarriages, DES. I'm also a Two Spirit in that I have a very feminine brain and a passable male body. The reflexive therapy for xxy persons is Testosterone shots or patches at doses based on "normal" males. These doses can vary a great deal depending on what "normal" they're going by.
I was lucky. I missed being diagnosed. Yes, I suffered a lot from slow maturation, being more comfortable in the company of women, having soft teeth as a child and teen, and ending up with small testicles. But I was a man, could have good relations with women and good, sometimes great sex.

Today, many xxy children are being given Testosterone "for their own good", "to make men of them" and to "normalize" them and prevent them from becoming gay. Yet we have met many xxy's who wished they'd never seen Testosterone. It's a very strong hormone and in large doses can convert to estrogen either through an enzyme or as a result of belly fat. The problem is that most of this therapy has never included baseline lab work of the entire endocrine and enzyme panel to determine what xxy patients actual hormone interactions are.

This kind of therapy is typical of what happens to all intersex people and persons with disorders of sex development - a term intersex people abhor in that it implies the necessity o f
"re-ordering". A common condition that happens in men is penile hyoerplasia where the urethra does not come out of the end of the penis but instead comes out on the shaft or at it's base. Surgeons routinely "fix" this condition with surgeries that at best scar the shaft. (at worst? Try not to imagine it.) Most of the time these surgeries eventually fail and are often done several times using grafted skin to reform the urethral opening. These grafts are not the same kind of tissue so they too have a high failure rate. It is worth noting that men who escaped such "normalizations" are quite content to sit to pee - have worked out successful ways to have sex and to father children. (Yet doctors will assure parents that without the "fix" the children will be traumatized by other children, in gym class, and will have trouble reproducing. We suspect that all of these worries are based in the Doctor's own unhappy childhood's and gym experiences.)

Whether we view CAH as intersex (and many with CAH refuse the designation) or DSD as DIx Poppas has called them, or simply a female with an enlarged clitoris, these "experiments" are typical of the kinds of operations that have been going on for more than 60 years on any and all infants and children found to have ambiguous genitals. It's time that these adventures in surgery and psychological trauma come out of the privacy of obstetric rooms with their Gender Identity Teams who terrify parents of newborns with the news that their baby may not be normal but that a simple operation will correct them. To date, most of these parents are not made aware of any of the survivor organizations out there for CAH, PAIS, AIS, XXY, 5 alpha, Sox gene failures etc. or for the intersex groups. Instead, parents are usually told their child has rare condition that can be fixed. Of course if the child has a micro penis - the normal procedure is to cut off the penis, build a vagina from colon tissue, and teach the parents to dilate the "vagina" daily until such time as the child can do it him/herself. (No, I'm not kidding.)

WE MUST STOP THIS NOW!

We thought we were on the right path in the '90's but then the medical profession insisted on calling us Disorders of Sexual Development. Those of us who've managed to survive their mutilations and pulled their psyches out of our objectified and traumatized trash bins, as well the rest who escaped notice demand that our situation be studied with extreme ethical oversight: DO NO HARM! We demand that further study follow real scientific protocols, with controls, and data acquisition aimed at developing therapies and or procedures that enhance our lives as human beings not as objects for further study.

For hundreds of years, those of us with variations of human sexual development have been isolated from the rest of the population either as freaks, objects of study, or for self preservation. The last due to the socio/cultural faith of the binary: that humans are male or female. It's time for the socio/cultural faith to change. We are not abominations - we are humans desiring the right to keep our bodies intact until such time as WE deem a change is in order.
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Posted by TwoSpirit on June 20, 2010 at 10:15 PM · Report this
320
"Big fucking deal. Guys have been circumcised for ages, and now that it's happening to women, they get all squeemish. get over it."

Wrong thing to say - little girls are getting their sexual organs cut apart, in a manner that stops them from ever experiencing an orgasm or enjoying sex when they are past puberty. Little girls are getting probed and "put to the test" with a vibrator to see if the cutting did any damage and or ruined their sexual experience at the age of -6-, not 10, not 12, not 5, or younger. This is a sick sick practice that needs to stop. I am a mother of three precious girls, and one boy (Whom is intact, I am proud to say) and I could not possibly imagine ever letting a doctor ruin what they were born with.
Posted by broodmother on June 21, 2010 at 3:32 AM · Report this
321
Please, please, please!!! Anyone and everyone who is outraged by this NEEDS TO WRITE LETTERS AND EMAILS!!! Nothing will get done if we all just sit here and comment on how disgusting this is! If everyone writes strong (NOT threatening - this accomplishes nothing!) letters and emails to the dean of medicine - dean@med.cornell.edu , the president of the university - president@cornell.edu , and Dr. Poppas himself - dpoppas@med.cornell.edu , explaining how wrong this practice is and demands that it stop, we have a chance to have something done about it! It only takes a minute or two to write an email, you can even copy and paste the comments you have made here! Just make sure to sound professional - We need to be taken seriously to accomplish what we set out to do! But the most important thing is to click the send button.
Posted by Bunny Rose on June 21, 2010 at 4:03 AM · Report this
322
Now crossing over to the UK (story-wise):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/…

and some more background here:

http://sexualitymatters.wordpress.com/20…

jane
xx
Posted by Jane Fae on June 21, 2010 at 10:22 AM · Report this
323
As a patient advocate for people born with a Disorder of Sex Development (historically called Hermaphrodite, also called Intersex), I am amazed at the outcry here. For decades a small army of doctors, ethicists, legalists, parents and people affected with a DSD have been working to change the way we are treated. We have made progress but Dr. Poppas is practicing THE STANDARD of CARE. In fact he is considered one of the best surgeons practicing… there are also not-so-crafty surgeons doing the same thing. Although, the follow up “treatment”, that’s Dr. Poppas’ idea. He’s hoping to prove to advocates that he’s sparing nerves (something we’ve been shouting about for years). No matter how many nerves are spared, no matter how proficient the surgeon: nerves ARE cut. Damage is done.

Advocates have made a strong argument for better, patient centered care. Information and FAMILY guidelines are available free at Accord Alliance www.accordalliance.org
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/Acco…
To each of you I ask: Please take your outrage and turn it into positive action.
Learn MORE about PATIENT CENTERED CARE. Not all care teams view risky surgeries with doubtful benefits as best care practices.

Anger can misdirect us from the real issues. Seeking a target for our outrage doesn’t solve the very real problems facing parents as they try to make the best decisions for their children. Please, have compassion for these often frightened, overwhelmed, possibly selectively informed parents. Some of the medical conditions that cause a DSD are life threatening, lifelong illnesses. Parents are in a whirlwind of “What do I need to do to help/save my child?!” What we say to every parent: Focus on any life threatening, medically NECESSARY issues. A large clitoris or a small penis are NOT life threatening. There is no proven benefit or advantage to doing a cosmetic surgery on your infant. There are no proven benefits or advantages of doing these surgeries EVER unless the person that ‘owns’ that body understands the benefits and risks. Take a deep breath, get more information, connect with a support group of parents with kids just like yours. Your child will be fine… just love them the way they are.

This type of care, these types of surgeries, have been the Standard of Care for over half a century. If it’s a new topic to you it’s only because everyone has been told NOT to talk about it. Care has been filled with shame, secrecy and isolation. I urge you to be informed, join others into the conversation, promote acceptance and understanding the larger issues involved. The odds are you already know someone with a DSD but they just don’t know how to talk with you about it.

I won’t suggest you not be outraged. I’m glad about that. You join a knowledgeable, diverse community and we’re happy to have the attention. But we’ll be happiest when society accepts our differences, when physicians stop trying to change our bodies to some definition we don’t fit before OR AFTER surgery.

Please keep following this issue. We are working on harnessing this incredible energy to support real change and we’ll continue to need that energy – your energy – to make it happen.




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Posted by FirstDoNoHarm on June 21, 2010 at 11:10 AM · Report this
324
hey yo has anyone even thought in addition to all things wrong about this, but this/these surgeons sound like they need serious checks on themselves like on the "creeeepy" part that hit me like NBC's "to catch a predator", this creepshow sounds more to me like sexually deviants/molestation/punch out these ethically fucked pieces of shit that I will not associate the title M.D. too, but convict featured on "Lockup's Predators Raw - new 2010 edition...Stu
Posted by stuart69 on June 21, 2010 at 11:28 AM · Report this
325
and yet, if you were to go to another entry on slog or other blather houses, you could easily find hetero men (or dane the comedian) talking about how they don't like the looks of large inner labia. or, in a thread about naked baristas in everett, many commenters felt the need to say there were some super "ugly vaginas" in the batch of photos released to the stranger. you don't think that makes people feel self-conscious and insecure about what they look like, all of you so-kind and concerned slog commenters? you don't spouting your opinion on how people look, which many of you do all the time, contributes negatively to the world? think again? and next time you are tempted to make an unpleasant remark in the real world or online, about the way someone's dresses, looks, carries themselves, etc, ask yourself, am i helping or hurting .... and then shut your mouth.
Posted by coda on June 21, 2010 at 1:34 PM · Report this
326
WTF Dan?! Are you going to just post this outrage and not give people an advocacy vehivle to direct their outrage through action??? An email of the Poppas, or the Director of the department he works for? Something???
Posted by DCSeth on June 21, 2010 at 2:37 PM · Report this
327
And how exactly have the parents come to determine that their daughters have abnormally large clitorises? Is the girl walking around showing it to people and calling it a penis? This whole scenario is just really F'd up. And wait... large penises mostly belong to gay men? What is this about? Where's this study? Why has porn been lying to me?
Posted by J-BUR on June 21, 2010 at 4:14 PM · Report this
328 Comment Pulled (Duplicate) Comment Policy
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@ohflattery, 317

Sorry ohflattery, but a good deal of your information is utterly wrong. Try reading the circumstitions.com website for excellent analyses of the HIV studies, for example, or go to this article:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/heal…

Or this:

http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2007/…

How about Rachel Stalling's study of genitally mutilated women, showing lower rates of transmission of AIDS?

http://www.ias-2005.org/planner/Abstract…

Or the recent study of mutilated women who emigrated to Italy, who reported orgasms about 69% of the time?

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17970…

Or the study of Korean men, showing great dissatisfaction with sexual pleasure after circumcision?

http://www.health.am/sex/more/the-effect…

Or Van Howe's study of the most sensitive parts of the penis?

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journ…

You compare allegedly clean American hospital circumcision of males, which still kill over a hundred boys a year in this country alone:

http://www.mensstudies.com/content/b64n2…

to African "bush" mutilations of girls, but why not be honest and compare the "bush" mutilations of boys as well?

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/2…

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/103504…

http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/article…

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&…

http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/article…

How about watching this shocking video showing what actually happens to boys (with a machete)?

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=…

You said "While male circumcision is a legitimate ethical conversation, FGM never is" - why? Other countries don't find it so:

http://mensnewsdaily.com/2010/05/30/roya…

I am not stating all these facts as if they justify FGM, far from it. I am opposed to all forms of coercive mutilation, medical, religious or otherwise, for both genders, and would like to see this monstrosity end, forever. But those who mutilate in other cultures are not stupid, though to us their practices are vile; every time an American protests their mutilations while minimizing (or defending) male circumcision here, this is perceived as pure cultural bigotry ("you think what you do is okay, while telling us we are wrong"). I appreciate that you say you are opposed to circumcision but trying to attack female genital mutilation while minimizing, protecting or defending male circumcision does nothing -- but defend FGM.
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Posted by eshu21 on June 21, 2010 at 9:29 PM · Report this
330
End Female Genital Mutilation at Cornell University
this is the name of the facebook group...
please, everyone, write to the people at weill/cornell...the more we do this and the sooner, the faster this will stop!!!
Posted by oceanbirth on June 22, 2010 at 1:06 AM · Report this
331
For those on Facebook you can join the group: End Female Genital Mutilation at Cornell University. Not sure if anything is being organized just yet, but at least it's a start to get our names in one place.

For those of us who are affiliated with Cornell (staff, faculty, students, alumni, and their families) join the Facebook group: Concerned Cornellians Against FGC-A Petition. Don't forget to sign the petition!
Posted by mrl34 on June 22, 2010 at 3:05 AM · Report this
332
Still no examples of grateful patients I see...

Funny how after a lecture like that she can't actually back up her words.
Posted by kathy. on June 22, 2010 at 8:55 AM · Report this
333
@ 141 and 317 -- they are the same issue in that they are both about permanently altering the form and function of a person's healthy genitals without their consent. Something that is wrong and bad, period, and that no person is justified in doing to another person. I really don't understand the "well it's not nearly as bad for men so we shouldn't be as outraged about them" stance. Would you not be as outraged if we were talking about removing the female prepuce? What about the labia, for the purpose of making it "cleaner"? Those are both analogous to male circumcision or the reasons for it.

Also, this notion that sexuality is not affected by circumcision is bullshit. Yes, circumcised men can still orgasm, but erectile dysfunction is a huge problem in our culture, especially as men age, and that *is* related to the absence of the foreskin and scar tissue. Dryness and discomfort in women during intercourse, another huge problem in our culture (no, there isn't just something wrong with women that so many need lube) is also related to the absence of the male foreskin.

The integrity and wholeness of my son's genitals is JUST AS important as that of my daughter's. This case is particularly horrible because of the molestation factor, and yes the mutilation is worse than the average male circumcision. It doesn't follow that male infant circumcision does not affect sexuality and should not be opposed as strongly as female circumcision.
Posted by lihe on June 22, 2010 at 9:37 AM · Report this
334
So, at or before the age of five the girls are deemed to have a larger than average clitorises. The onset of puberty causes profound changes in the overall appearance and structure of genitalia, so the question begs: Would their clitorises still seem larger than normal when they reach sexual maturity?
Posted by Steve Z. on June 23, 2010 at 11:55 PM · Report this
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Horrible, obviously. Children can't consent, placing "normality" over complete sexual function when the child can't possibly know which is more important to her, awful.
But preventing lesbians is a stretch. I don't think a parent sees an unusal clit and says "OMIGOD she might be gay," I think the parent sees her and says "OMIGOD she's not a normal woman, can we help her?" I would be totally fine with having a gay child, for instance, but I would still have the latter reaction. I wouldn't ask a surgeon to operate unneccessarily on my daughter's genitals, of course, but I would have the reaction.
The problem is that parents see a norm as an absolute requirement, and they don't read enough of Dan's articles to know there are many healthy adults with a wide variety of types of junk in their pants. I am sure that there are some big-clitted straight women out there who are 100% ok with how they are, for example, and maybe even some adult women who elected to have their big clits reduced because bikini bottom normalcy is their top priority. The obvious answer is to let women make their own choices when they are old enough to know what is going on.
Hopefully publicizing this issue will wake some people up - even if, like me, they don't buy the homophobia angle. So good job, Dan.
Posted by jake1246546546 on June 24, 2010 at 10:40 AM · Report this
336
I've said that this isn't unusual. I'm not sure I was believed.

Some actual cases:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Twe8p0R8t…

This happens all the time.
Posted by Zoe Brain on June 24, 2010 at 8:11 PM · Report this
337
There are worse cases. This one, for example.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OG1cG0Uu…
Posted by Zoe Brain on June 25, 2010 at 4:28 AM · Report this
338
Regarding the topic of cutting one sex being worse than the other, the subject is a red herring. I could site evidence supporting the severe results of cutting boys and other evidence down playing the severity of cutting girls, but that would only divert attention from the truth: Nobody should be cutting, amputating, scarring, or even tattooing children without an immediate need. There is no need to circumcise boys and I highly doubt there is any immediate need to reduce the size of a large clitoris in a child. If a surgery can wait until adulthood, then it should: then the child has become an adult who can determine whether, what, and how much for theirself.

I think that it is great that some of you are fighting to stop the people who are cutting girls. I thought that it was illegal by Federal law to cut girls without need, but I suppose that the law does not bar falsehoods trumped up by physicians. My work is with the general populace to educate people that it is wrong and hurtful to cut the genitalia of children without immediate medical need regardless of whether the child is male, female, or intersex. I hope that, one day, all parents will understand that they have a duty to keep their children whole regardless of what some quack tries to trump up.
Posted by Proctor Silex on June 25, 2010 at 9:52 AM · Report this
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@Joseph4GI for 283 and 284: Right on! The real issue is GM and how nobody should be forced into unnecessary genital surgeries even if they are done with seemingly good intentions.

All cutting and amputating is by definition MUTILATION. Mutilation is not a subjective term as some people try to make it. If there is no need, then leave it alone regardless of cultural, legal, or gender bias!
Posted by Proctor Silex on June 25, 2010 at 10:16 AM · Report this
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@ohflattery

"Apparently, I'm "no better than people in Africa then." Really? I, a commenter, am as bad as the people who cut off little girls clitorises? Really? I astonish myself- my comments must have been positively scarring to approach those levels. Next you'll be comparing me to a child molester or Hilter. Anyways, no matter how angry I was or how very much I disagree with you, I certainly haven't resorted to name calling. You just took this from passionate discussion to bitchfest. Congrats."

This is but a twist of words on your part, and I will not respond to it.

"First of all, to actually 'circumcise' a girl would be to remove the clitoral hood. Removing the clitoris is comparable to cutting off the head of the penis, not the foreskin."

I disagree. Comparing the head of the penis to the clitoris is like comparing apples to oranges. Actually, no, more like grapefruits to a blueberries. I severity is a red herring. Cutting off a piece of a person's genitals is the same offense, no matter what size. The clitoris, even the ciltoris of most women dwarve in comparison to the foreskin of even a small child. Let's not get into the whole "my clitoris is bigger than your penis head" argument. It's not going to work.

"There are vastly different effects as well. A cleanly performed male circumcision still allows for proper penile function- that is, you can pee, have sex, not experience pain during sex, and even enjoy sex. FGM removes all pleasure from sex, and makes it a horribly painful experience. That’s actually the point of it in the cultures that practice it. Oftentimes the wound gets infected, in severe cases even developing gangrene. Girls are more likely to develop yeast and urinary tract infections, experience excruciating pain when they urinate, or even take away a girls ability to urinate properly."

This is all unfounded, baseless arguing on your part. Is that what makes male circumcision "different" and "less worse" than a female circumcision? That you're still able to pee, have sex and have painless sex? Because your claim that "removes all pleasure from sex and makes it a horrible painful experience" is wrong. Actually, where are you getting this information? Do you know that even women that undergo infibulation, which is the "worst" kind of FGM that exists, can experience orgasm? You DO know that in South Africa, where boys are circumcised at the same age as women, often lose their penises to gangrene? You really have absolutely no idea of what you are talking about.

"Also, you imply that circumcision has no benefits. Many studies have shown it to reduce female to male HIV transmission as well as the transmission of other STDs. Whether or nor you agree with those studies is up to you, but there are no studies showing any benefits to FGM- quite the opposite. Also, you act as if everyone who has their child circumcised is cruel or blindly following the masses, instead of just following their own opinions of these studies. (Just because you put quotes around the word studies does not actually discredit them) Also, cut cocks are easier to keep clean. It’s a fact. You may not value this over having your foreskin, but again, thats your call."

Circumcision in males has about the same "benefits" as girls. I'm afraid any "study" that you can quote regarding male circumcision and STD transmission is wrong. They're all rigged and concocted by pro-circumcision doctors, kind of like Poppas here.

Riddle me this, flat, can you tell me WHY there are no "studies" showing the "benefits" of FGM? The answer is right here under our noses; we would not allow them. We are immediately outraged by any "study" that seeks to legitimize and rationalize taking a girl's organs and chopping them up. To quote male "studies", condemn FGM studies, and then proceed to tell me that "there are all kinds of MGM studies that show MGM shows benefits, but no FGM studies" is pure self-servience.

I don't think I ever condemned anyone that had their child mutilated as "cruel." I will say they are blindly following the masses, if they are not outright being convinced to allow doctors to do it. Mind you, it is quite precisely what is happening here with Poppas. I don't blame the parents here; it's DOCTORS who are supposed to know better than their patients, much more their patients' parents.

As for "cut cocks are easier to keep clean," here's another baseless claim. You've never had one, I'm sure. I own an anatomically correct penis, and I've been with quite a few women in my life. I can tell you from experience that cleaning my penis is no "harder" than it is for my wife to clean her vagina. No, it's NOT a "fact." It's your fantasy.

About the quotes around the word "studies," I do it because those studies have already been blown out of the water by authorities. Those who continue to tout them have a serious delusional problem called self-serving biased perception.

"I am willing to talk about the boys, in a setting that doesn't detract from what happens to the girls. Because they're not the same! FGM and male circumcision are two very different things!"

Sorry, as long as you have that mindset, you are being sexist and you need to sit down.

"While male circumcision is a legitimate ethical conversation, FGM never is. But because FGM rarely even gets mentioned (I've yet to see this hit the national media, for example) its important to focus on it while its in spotlight."

I'm afraid you're mistaken.

We have all agreed here that it will be unacceptable to talk about the "pros and cons" of FGM. WHY is this different with MGM? WHY is it a "legitimate" ethical conversation?

I'm not sure WHAT planet you live on, but that FGM is horrible is already quite-accepted. It really needs no mention. Mention FGM, and you get long threads like the one you're typing on. Your argument simply has no basis in fact.

"The fact is, there are lots of people that don't know about FGM, or what it means or that it happens- its not talked about a lot in our society. You act as if FGM gets talked about incessantly while the dubious nature of male circumcision is ignored- I'd say they're talked about both pretty equally. Actually, male circumcision may actually be talked about more, because no one goes onto those blogs and derails the conversation to FGM. I would like to actually thank you for talking about FGM at the end of your (very long) response, as that’s more than most of the derailing posters have done on here. Though I wouldn't just leave it at "FGM is horrible. DUH!" as there are actually some people on here arguing for the surgeries- clearly its not as widely hated as we'd like to think."

You should really get around more.

FGM IS more openly talked about. But that's because it's pretty much generally accepted that it's a barbaric practice. You really will not have any contest there.

Male circumcision IS ignored. Infact, whenever people mention circumcision, it's to tout all the "benefits" and how parents have this big "choice." (Parents have no choice with their daughters.) People AGAINST them ARE ignored, they're cut short in time, or they're dismissed as "special interest quacks." (When the opposite is true.)

Male circumcision IS only talked about in hidden blogs, and when you go, you will actually have no trouble "deraling " the conversation with FGM; everyone pretty much agrees they're both equally wrong.

There are actually people on here arguing in favor of FGM and what Poppas is doing, but have you noticed how terribly underwhelmed people against it are?

Do you seriously think the idea that FGM is horrible is contested in this country?

"Finally, while I do disagree with male circumcision, I also think they have different levels of urgency. To me, this discussion is like a deity saying to you- "You can stop all murders or all assaults." Frankly, I'm going to pick murders, as to me it seems like the worse of two terrible things. Same thing here. Not because its happening to girls, but because it is a completely different matter. "

This line of thinking is seriously flawed. I will reiterate; no one seems to think there is anything wrong with murder. But the reasoning people who would rather that people that bring up male circumcision be quiet is that "rape should be ignored because murder is worse."

There is no "difference." Taking a healthy, non-consenting individual and cutting off parts of his or her genitals is the exact same principle.

The "difference" is that while taking a boy, strapping him down, ripping his foreskin off his glans, sticking it in a clamp and slicing it off is acceptable in this country, we will not allow as much as a "ritual nick."

""The problem with most anti-circumcision activists[…] is a tendency to wildly overstate the anti-circumcision case."

I'm afraid that this is the very problem with FGM. They have a tendency to wildly overstate the FGM case, while wildly minimizing male circumcision.

I'll reiterate; FGM opponents don't have an uphill battle. They preach to the choir. It's really easy to swim with the flow.

FGM isn't a problem here in the states (Save this horrendous case with CAH patients.), MALE circumcision is. It's a problem and people would rather anti-circumcisionists wouldn't bring it up.

""When you claim that "a man loses much of his capacity for sexual pleasure when he's cut," all the cut guys out there reading your letter -- guys like me and my boyfriend and most every guy we know, gay and straight -- think, "Hey, I'm cut, and I derive plenty of 'sexual pleasure' from my cock. These anti-circumcision crybabies are full of shit." And comparing male circumcision (the removal of the foreskin) to female genital mutilation (the removal of the clitoris) doesn't help, either. Removing the clit is comparable to cutting off the head of the penis, not the foreskin, and comparing the two procedures comes off as cheap, "me too" victim mongering. A little less hysteria, a little less overstatement, and a lot less anti-Semitic rhetoric, and anti-cutting forces might change more people's minds." "

I'm not sure I ever made the claim that a man "loses much of his capacity for sexual pleasure." That is a claim people make about FGM (that women lose pleasure).

I'm afraid it really doesn't help to be conguring up subjective annecdotes. Go to Africa and ask women how they feel about having undergone through FGM. Quite a few women will react like Dan. We "FGM crybabies are full of shit."

Doesn't erase the reality of the situation that FGM (as well as MGM) is a violation of basic human rights.

You only try to convince yourself when you make the claim that "removing the clit is not comparable to removing the foreskin."

Taking a healthy, non-consenting individual and cutting off part of his genitals is the same principle violated. It violates the same human rights, and it doesn't matter that the parts cut off are "different." Remember; we told the AAP that we would not allow them to endorse as much as a "nick," where FGM wouldn't "remove" anything.

It's not "what" is being removed, but the principle. You don't take someone and cut off part of his genitals because YOU don't think it's "worse" than cutting off part of a girl's genitals.
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Posted by Joseph4GI on June 27, 2010 at 1:28 AM · Report this
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342 Comment Pulled (Duplicate) Comment Policy
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@ohflattery

"Apparently, I'm "no better than people in Africa then." Really? I, a commenter, am as bad as the people who cut off little girls clitorises? Really? I astonish myself- my comments must have been positively scarring to approach those levels. Next you'll be comparing me to a child molester or Hilter. Anyways, no matter how angry I was or how very much I disagree with you, I certainly haven't resorted to name calling. You just took this from passionate discussion to bitchfest. Congrats."

This is but a twist of words on your part, and I will not respond to it.

"First of all, to actually 'circumcise' a girl would be to remove the clitoral hood. Removing the clitoris is comparable to cutting off the head of the penis, not the foreskin."

I disagree. Comparing the head of the penis to the clitoris is like comparing apples to oranges. Actually, no, more like grapefruits to a blueberries. I severity is a red herring. Cutting off a piece of a person's genitals is the same offense, no matter what size. The clitoris, even the ciltoris of most women dwarve in comparison to the foreskin of even a small child. Let's not get into the whole "my clitoris is bigger than your penis head" argument. It's not going to work.

"There are vastly different effects as well. A cleanly performed male circumcision still allows for proper penile function- that is, you can pee, have sex, not experience pain during sex, and even enjoy sex. FGM removes all pleasure from sex, and makes it a horribly painful experience. That’s actually the point of it in the cultures that practice it. Oftentimes the wound gets infected, in severe cases even developing gangrene. Girls are more likely to develop yeast and urinary tract infections, experience excruciating pain when they urinate, or even take away a girls ability to urinate properly."

This is all unfounded, baseless arguing on your part. Is that what makes male circumcision "different" and "less worse" than a female circumcision? That you're still able to pee, have sex and have painless sex? Because your claim that "removes all pleasure from sex and makes it a horrible painful experience" is wrong. Actually, where are you getting this information? Do you know that even women that undergo infibulation, which is the "worst" kind of FGM that exists, can experience orgasm? You DO know that in South Africa, where boys are circumcised at the same age as women, often lose their penises to gangrene? You DO know that the whole reason circumcision exists in the states today is because it began in the Victorian era as a way to keep boys from masturbating? "Decreasing pleasure" is EXACTLY why boys were circumcised. You really have absolutely no idea of what you are talking about.

"Also, you imply that circumcision has no benefits. Many studies have shown it to reduce female to male HIV transmission as well as the transmission of other STDs. Whether or nor you agree with those studies is up to you, but there are no studies showing any benefits to FGM- quite the opposite. Also, you act as if everyone who has their child circumcised is cruel or blindly following the masses, instead of just following their own opinions of these studies. (Just because you put quotes around the word studies does not actually discredit them) Also, cut cocks are easier to keep clean. It’s a fact. You may not value this over having your foreskin, but again, thats your call."

Circumcision in males has about the same "benefits" as girls. I'm afraid any "study" that you can quote regarding male circumcision and STD transmission is wrong. They're all rigged and concocted by pro-circumcision doctors, kind of like Poppas here. BOTTOM LINE: There is no STD that is prevented by circumcision; circumcised men get every STD that intact men get. There is absolutely no study, nor doctor, nor professor that can refute this. IF "studies" were correct, circumcision would "reduce the risk" by some silly number at best. 60% for AIDS? Really? Is there a reason why circumcision failed in the 1980s when close to 90% of all US men were already circumcised from birth?

Let's talk about the latest crock. Circumcision is supposed to "Reduce the risk of HPV by 35%." And that's progress? Really? What about that 65%? Circumcision is supposed to "reduce the risk of herpes by 28%." 28%. And that is somehow supposed to be laudable. 28%? And for the 72% of the men that get herpes and pass it on to their partners... "oops?" Absolute and sheer STUPIDITY anyone actually takes this crap seriously. When all you have to do is wear a condom. Me, no thanks. I'm married. Someone tell my why the majority of males that get HIV in this country happen to be circumcised at birth.

Riddle me this, flat, can you tell me WHY there are no "studies" showing the "benefits" of FGM? The answer is right here under our noses; we would not allow them. We are immediately outraged by any "study" that seeks to legitimize and rationalize taking a girl's organs and chopping them up. To quote male "studies", condemn FGM studies, and then proceed to tell me that "there are all kinds of MGM studies that show MGM shows benefits, but no FGM studies" is pure self-service. There are quite a few FGM "studies" that show that women who have undergone FGM have a "lowered risk of HIV." WHY don't you see these? Because major medical journals like the Lancet would get CREAMED by the AAP. They would get their asres handed to them by anti-FGM groups. The WHO, UNAIDS and UNICEF would lose all credibility.

I don't think I ever condemned anyone that had their child mutilated as "cruel." I will say they are blindly following the masses, if they are not outright being convinced to allow doctors to do it. Mind you, it is quite precisely what is happening here with Poppas. I don't blame the parents here; it's DOCTORS who are supposed to know better than their patients, much more their patients' parents. I'll say it again; I don't condemn parents who decided to go through with circumcisions; like Dr. Poppas' victims, those parents only did what they were told "what's best" by people they trusted.

As for "cut cocks are easier to keep clean," here's another baseless claim. You've never had one, I'm sure. I own an anatomically correct penis, and I've been with quite a few women in my life. I can tell you from experience that cleaning my penis is no "harder" than it is for my wife to clean her vagina. No, it's NOT a "fact." It's your fantasy.

About the quotes around the word "studies," I don't do it with the intention of "taking away credibility." The flaws in these so-called "studies" are so glaringly obvious, it's not even funny. Just as it is clear that cutting out a girl's shaft is mutilation and Poppas is a quack, it is so clear that these "studies" are but a hoax being used to promote circumcision. Look at who wrote them, and HOW and you'll get a picture. Check out who Bailey, Halperin, Gray, Moses etc. are, and you'll see that there is a flagrant conflict of interest. There has got to be something wrong with "studies" with which realities in other parts of the world don't correlate. (IE, WHY does the US have higher STD transmission rates than various countries in Europe? Asia? WHY, even though the majority of men are circumcised, is the HIV transmission RISING in Israel? Google "haaretz" and "HIV" or "AIDS" to read up.)

"I am willing to talk about the boys, in a setting that doesn't detract from what happens to the girls. Because they're not the same! FGM and male circumcision are two very different things!"

Sorry, as long as you have that mindset, you are being sexist and you need to sit down.

"While male circumcision is a legitimate ethical conversation, FGM never is. But because FGM rarely even gets mentioned (I've yet to see this hit the national media, for example) its important to focus on it while its in spotlight."

I'm afraid you're mistaken.

We have all agreed here that it will be unacceptable to talk about the "pros and cons" of FGM. WHY is this different with MGM? WHY is it a "legitimate" ethical conversation?

I'm not sure WHAT planet you live on, but that FGM is horrible is already quite-accepted. It really needs no mention. Mention FGM, and you get long threads like the one you're typing on. Your argument simply has no basis in fact.

"The fact is, there are lots of people that don't know about FGM, or what it means or that it happens- its not talked about a lot in our society. You act as if FGM gets talked about incessantly while the dubious nature of male circumcision is ignored- I'd say they're talked about both pretty equally. Actually, male circumcision may actually be talked about more, because no one goes onto those blogs and derails the conversation to FGM. I would like to actually thank you for talking about FGM at the end of your (very long) response, as that’s more than most of the derailing posters have done on here. Though I wouldn't just leave it at "FGM is horrible. DUH!" as there are actually some people on here arguing for the surgeries- clearly its not as widely hated as we'd like to think."

You should really get around more.

FGM IS more openly talked about. But that's because it's pretty much generally accepted that it's a barbaric practice. You really will not have any contest there.

Male circumcision IS ignored. Infact, whenever people mention circumcision, it's to tout all the "benefits" and how parents have this big "choice." (Parents have no choice with their daughters.) People AGAINST male circumcision ARE ignored, they're cut short in time, or they're dismissed as "special interest quacks." (When the opposite is true.) News outlets spend more time talking about all the "benefits" of circumcision, rather than actually talk about the ethic of taking a healthy, non-consenting individual and cutting off part of his genitals. Ethic and morality clearly only applies to women and their genitals. Men and boys simply don't have the same rights, and this is acceptable.

Male circumcision IS only talked about in hidden blogs, and when you go, you will actually have no trouble "derailing " the conversation with FGM; everyone pretty much agrees they're both equally wrong. It is people against FGM who take on this "don't take my spotlight, I'M more important" kind of attitude.

There are actually people on here arguing in favor of FGM and what Poppas is doing, but have you noticed how terribly underwhelmed people against it are?

Do you seriously think the idea that FGM is horrible is contested in this country?

"Finally, while I do disagree with male circumcision, I also think they have different levels of urgency. To me, this discussion is like a deity saying to you- "You can stop all murders or all assaults." Frankly, I'm going to pick murders, as to me it seems like the worse of two terrible things. Same thing here. Not because its happening to girls, but because it is a completely different matter. "

This line of thinking is seriously flawed. I will reiterate; no one seems to think there is anything wrong with murder. But the reasoning people who would rather that people that bring up male circumcision be quiet is that "rape should be ignored because murder is worse."

There is no "difference." Taking a healthy, non-consenting individual and cutting off parts of his or her genitals is the exact same principle.

The "difference" is that while taking a boy, strapping him down, ripping his foreskin off his glans, sticking it in a clamp and slicing it off is acceptable in this country, we will not allow as much as a "ritual nick" for girls. It is a double-standard. It is double-think.

""The problem with most anti-circumcision activists[…] is a tendency to wildly overstate the anti-circumcision case."

I'm afraid that this is the very problem with FGM. They have a tendency to wildly overstate the FGM case, while wildly minimizing male circumcision.

I'll reiterate; FGM opponents don't have an uphill battle. They preach to the choir. It's really easy to swim with the flow.

FGM isn't a problem here in the states (Save this horrendous case with CAH patients.), MALE circumcision is. It's a problem and people would rather anti-circumcisionists wouldn't bring it up.

""When you claim that "a man loses much of his capacity for sexual pleasure when he's cut," all the cut guys out there reading your letter -- guys like me and my boyfriend and most every guy we know, gay and straight -- think, "Hey, I'm cut, and I derive plenty of 'sexual pleasure' from my cock. These anti-circumcision crybabies are full of shit." And comparing male circumcision (the removal of the foreskin) to female genital mutilation (the removal of the clitoris) doesn't help, either. Removing the clit is comparable to cutting off the head of the penis, not the foreskin, and comparing the two procedures comes off as cheap, "me too" victim mongering. A little less hysteria, a little less overstatement, and a lot less anti-Semitic rhetoric, and anti-cutting forces might change more people's minds." "

I'm not sure I ever made the claim that a man "loses much of his capacity for sexual pleasure." That is a claim people make about FGM (that women lose pleasure).

I'm afraid it really doesn't help to be conguring up subjective annecdotes. Go to Africa and ask women how they feel about having undergone through FGM. Quite a few women will react like Dan. We "FGM crybabies are full of shit."

Doesn't erase the reality of the situation that FGM (as well as MGM) is a violation of basic human rights.

You only try to convince yourself when you make the claim that "removing the clit is not comparable to removing the foreskin."

Taking a healthy, non-consenting individual and cutting off part of his genitals is the same principle violated. It violates the same human rights, and it doesn't matter that the parts cut off are "different." Remember; we told the AAP that we would not allow them to endorse as much as a "nick," where FGM wouldn't "remove" anything.

It's not "what" is being removed, but the principle. You don't take someone and cut off part of his genitals because YOU don't think it's "worse" than cutting off part of a girl's genitals.

Please spare me the anti-Semite card. People against male circumcision aren't "anti-Semite," anymore than people against FGM are "anti-African." Over 95% of circumcisions in America are gentile, secular circumcisions that happen at hospitals; I'm against ALL of it.

I'd like to address THIS little number:

"Removing the clit is comparable to cutting off the head of the penis, not the foreskin, and comparing the two procedures comes off as cheap, "me too" victim mongering."

Cutting off parts of people's genitals is cutting off parts of people's genitals. To say "cutting off the foreskin is not the same as cutting off the clitoris" is cheap "only women are victims" victim mongering.

It is SEXIST to be minimizing male circumcision while blowing female circumcision out of proportion.

Women that undergo FGM DO experience orgasm and sexual sensations, and quite a few women would be insulted at the claim that they don't.

No one is claiming that one form of genital mutilation is "worse" than the other. (Well, maybe YOU are...)

What I'M claiming is, genital mutilation is genital mutilation. Taking a boy or a girl and tying him or her down to have part of his or her genitals cut out is the exact same principle, the exact same violation of basic human rights.

How much bigger the piece of flesh is removed, how "severe" people think a procedure is, how much sexual functionality is left is really secondary.

Whether or not someone wants to be circumcised should be HIS body HIS choice.

There is no medical necessity for Poppas to be doing what he does to girls. The same applies to circumcision and baby boys.

It is the same principle violated, it is equally ethically repugnant. You can't condemn one without condemning the other. To insist on doing so is a double-standard; you're only condemning/condoning what you feel comfortable with and are unwilling to measure both procedures with the same yardstick.
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Posted by Joseph4GI on June 27, 2010 at 2:12 AM · Report this
344
This article horrifies me. I can't believe that this kind of thing is allowed to happen!
as an adult woman who has two children, I have enough trouble going to see a gynocologist (the only one where I live is male) I find it embarrassing and humilliating and avoid it um less absolutely necessary. if I feel this way as an adult how would a 6year old child feel? how could a mother do this to her child?
Why can't genitals be left as they are until the end of puberty and then the individual concerned can see a doctor if he/she wants to.
I just don't understand how this is good medical practise. I will think twice before fully trusting a doctor ever again.
Posted by concerned mum of two on July 3, 2010 at 5:07 AM · Report this
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i wonder why this doctor isn't concerned about shortening the penises of young boys who have larger than / longer than "average" penis size? would that "psychologically impact" them as they grow up?
this doctor sickens me. i feel literally sick to my stomach. and why the parents would allow their child to be subject to this is unbelievable and also sickening. oh my lord.
Posted by liz180 on July 5, 2010 at 9:38 AM · Report this
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I wonder what Andy at Dunder-Mifflin would say...
Posted by ScarlettBeast on July 8, 2010 at 4:51 PM · Report this
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I keep going back and reading these articles and one question stands out in my mind that I haven't seen asked. Before I can try to process all the rest, I have to know what makes the parents of children as young as five and six seek out this kind of medical attention in the first place? Everyone's focusing on the doctor's decision that the girls' clits are too big, but I'm still wondering how they even got that far. Are parents measuring these things now? Is there a comparison scale that I'm unaware of? Are first graders coming home from school and asking why Judy's and Megan's are smaller? This isn't sarcasm, either. (Okay, maybe the last one, a little.) Just--really. How do parents get to that first step where one says to the other over dinner that they really need to get this looked at by a professional?
Posted by bonnybedlam on July 9, 2010 at 6:51 AM · Report this
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Violation of ETHICS? Call CORNELL? How about violation of federal LAW? Screw Cornell! Call the federal PROSECUTORS! Has no one told Cornell about the federal Anti-female Genital Mutilation Act? As for parental "consent" (to violation of federal law), parents have no right to consent to amputation of healthy body parts from their children, and any such "consent" does not protect violators from prosecution. Throw the book at everyone involved. Send all of them to jail for the maximum sentence allowed. The only people calling Cornell should be the federal prosecutors.
Posted by ChildProtector on July 15, 2010 at 4:35 AM · Report this
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I am stunned. I read through all the articles and am gobsmacked and repulsed. This is institutionalised sadistic pedophilia.
Posted by berlinbabe on July 20, 2010 at 5:09 AM · Report this
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"Everyone's focusing on the doctor's decision that the girls' clits are too big, but I'm still wondering how they even got that far. Are parents measuring these things now?"

I've read a lot of articles on this outrageous practice, and they are all missing the answer to this question, and it is plainly stated in the study itself. Most of the girls undergoing this procedure have Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia; check it out on google images. It is not accurate to say that these girls have large clitorises; their gentiles do in fact resemble male gentiles, but they have XX chromosomes and are completely functional as females. That said, I can see how a parent could be so concerned about raising a daughter who appeared to have a penis that they would go to a doctor about it and consider even an outlandish surgery like this one to help their daughter have a "normal" life.

Is it horrible? Yes. I cried the first time I read about this issue. It is unimaginable to me that anyone would abuse another human being like this...but it's going to take a revamping of human sexuality that ceases to classify us as "men" and "women" with pre-defined gender roles and allows us to simply live as selves, individuals in a complex universe who all find our own paths to happiness. At this point, the doctor may be forced to cease his abuse of these young girls...but they will be abused by others down the road anyway. It's a much larger issue than just one man with a vibrator.
Posted by BernieS on August 1, 2010 at 6:33 PM · Report this
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HAAALLLLOOOOOO!!! Check this supposed scholar guy - he is a sex pervert - till when will he keep the annual follow-ups with the parent standing by?? Soon, the kid, not so 'kid' any more will be going for check ups alone and i can assure you - more likely than not - this man will be abusing the kids. He is already molesting the girls with the vibrators and all. He has already molested the girls by cutting off their clitoris - he is mutilating these kids.

Where must one go to have this person arrested?? What laws do they have in this place???
What kind of parent allows this to happen to their kid?

There is NO justification for this - and someone should show the researcher and the Provost of this university the outrage expressed in this site - they have to stop that nonsense.

Karambu Ringera, Kenya
Posted by Karambu Ringera on August 8, 2010 at 6:59 PM · Report this
352
this is Nazi science. and I wish I meant that as hyperbole.

does Mr. Spock have a beard in this universe?? this sick puppy needs some passive-aggression reduction surgery on his dick immediately.

I am now off to discover contacts at Cornell to continue my stunned outrage.
Posted by susan.g on August 11, 2010 at 6:42 AM · Report this
353
Let's call it even and stop mutilating CHILDREN, regardless of sex.
Posted by Los Extemas on August 17, 2010 at 12:00 PM · Report this
354
As a parent who of a child with CAH I am pleased to see that there are some comments in this discussion that are compassionate and thoughtful. Seeing your listless child at death's door is not a horror I would wish on any of you, it is a painful, emotional, and scary thing to go through. Your parental reaction to protect your child is pushed to the limit and for some will stay in overdrive for a long time. I see it almost daily in the CAH forums. It's heartbreaking to read their stories and remember our feelings as we first discovered..... that we DID this to our child. That somewhere in my genetic tree is a deletion/mutation that will forever curse my child with a myriad of lifelong and life threatening problems. It makes you try that much harder to give your child a normal life .... or as normal as possible.

I guess you could say that my wife and I are blessed, we ended up having a boy with CAH. We didn't have to be confronted with this choice. And quite honestly I can't know what we would have done. What I would have hoped to find - both from our doctors and from online research -- is a thoughtful introduction to leading a life with ambiguous genitalia (both for a child, how to support our child and other tools for us as parents). Information and education.

I appreciate a few of those thoughtful posts above that challenged my thinking on this subject.

Posted by Mark F. on September 30, 2010 at 9:46 PM · Report this
355
I just stumbled upon a link to this article that my friend posted on facebook. I was so overwhelmed with emotion when i read this. I normally don't post responses to news stories or on forums, but I had to speak up about this.

Before I post my thoughts on this let me just say that I have daughters of my own, consider myself more than a little bit on the feminist side, and am appalled when I read report after report of child about cases in the news. That being said, I would like to ask that you not be too quick to judge what is happening here. It has to be an excruciating decision for those parents to make.

I have this abnormality myself. I did not know this until I became sexually active in high school. Not only did my partner react with shock and disgust, word spread pretty quickly about just how abnormal I was. As a teen, I was hospitalized twice for suicide attempts because of the rumors and teasing that followed. The things people said and did to me were just horrible. Worse than anything I read in that article.

Needless to say, I have serious intimacy issues as a result. Now If I want to fix this I have to pay thousands of dollars for vagioplasty, which is a cosmetic procedure not covered by my insurance that I most certainly cannot afford. While I know there are much worse conditions and ailments to live with, this is definitely not something that I would wish upon anyone.

The follow-up appointments mentioned in the article do seem unreasonable, but I would like to think it is only so the doctor can test the after effects of a surgery like this for the benefit of future patients who need this surgery. There has got to be a better way to check for this, though - Something more physiological than poking at a child and asking them to respond verbally.

I know posting this is probably going to make me the target of some pretty angry remarks. I just wanted to offer a different view on the subject.
More...
Posted by justmy2cents on October 22, 2010 at 8:14 PM · Report this
356
I just stumbled upon a link to this article that my friend posted on facebook. I was so overwhelmed with emotion when i read this. I normally don't post responses to news stories or on forums, but I had to speak up about this.

Before I post my thoughts on this let me just say that I have daughters of my own, consider myself more than a little bit on the feminist side, and am appalled when I read report after report of child about cases in the news. That being said, I would like to ask that you not be too quick to judge what is happening here. It has to be an excruciating decision for those parents to make.

I have this abnormality myself. I did not know this until I became sexually active in high school. Not only did my partner react with shock and disgust, word spread pretty quickly about just how abnormal I was. As a teen, I was hospitalized twice for suicide attempts because of the rumors and teasing that followed. The things people said and did to me were just horrible. Worse than anything I read in that article.

Needless to say, I have serious intimacy issues as a result. Now If I want to fix this I have to pay thousands of dollars for vagioplasty, which is a cosmetic procedure not covered by my insurance that I most certainly cannot afford. While I know there are much worse conditions and ailments to live with, this is definitely not something that I would wish upon anyone.

The follow-up appointments mentioned in the article do seem unreasonable, but I would like to think it is only so the doctor can test the after effects of a surgery like this for the benefit of future patients who need this surgery. There has got to be a better way to check for this, though - Something more physiological than poking at a child and asking them to respond verbally.

I know posting this is probably going to make me the target of some pretty angry remarks. I just wanted to offer a different view on the subject.
More...
Posted by justmy2cents on October 22, 2010 at 8:17 PM · Report this
357
The hysteria on this group is frightening and sickening betraying a level of ignorance that should embarrass all who hve posted without thinking straight. No one has addressed this with an understanding of the background science underlying the embryology of intersex, hermaphroditism, pseudo-hermaphroditism, congential adrenal hyperplasia, and androgenizing syndromes. It is like listening to a hapless severely Alzheimer afflicted nongenarian weigh in on Heidegger. Grow up, stop forcing yourself into a cause that thrives more on idiotic outrage rather than reason and if you wish to expend negative energy, focus on the outrage that should be directed against the mysogenistic Islamic atavistic practices.
Posted by dr. gail saunders on November 16, 2010 at 11:52 AM · Report this
358
(Think about it: the clit is the homologue of the penis. How do men masturbate?)

By jerking their foreskins.
Posted by Emmanuel Lasker on March 15, 2011 at 5:44 AM · Report this
359
Actually there are people out there shortening boys' penises (welcome to USA). Circumcision removes thirty to fifty percent of the penile skin... Otherwise, I am stunned and appalled by the crimes masquerading as research, and in total agreement with the sentiment of this article.
Posted by Karel on April 7, 2011 at 4:10 PM · Report this
360
this made me cry 3 time just hearing about this.with guys they just cut off extra skin but with girl, they are taking away almost all of the joys of being a female. and casing nerve damage!!!! who the H3LL came up with this madness!!!
Posted by tyree vinson on July 26, 2011 at 7:54 PM · Report this
361
It is terrible when you think how these things still happen.It's like we're in the dark ages again.

cerebral palsy in babies
Posted by ncrglaw on December 9, 2011 at 4:59 AM · Report this
362
It's been mentioned, but let's not leave out that male- or intersex- genital mutilation is just as inherently wrong.
Posted by seymour on December 9, 2011 at 12:06 PM · Report this
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Root your phone , install cputuner from market,and configure two profiles.

screen on : 836 mhz
screen off : 312 mhz

That way when 2 your phones screen turns off , you downclock your cpu to 312 mhz .

Dont use task 2 killers : your samsung phone. wastes more battery re-opening killed tasks : instead , make sure everytime you close an app, its really closed . WIth stock task admin , you can make sure of it.
Posted by jiepas on August 11, 2013 at 1:49 PM · Report this
370
All you horrified people:

Why aren't you as horrified about male children being strapped to a table and having their genitals ripped apart? Male circumcision is just as bad as this. Maybe worse.
Posted by HelloMeteor on September 28, 2013 at 8:23 AM · Report this
371
You morons, he's nothing but a pedephile, just looking for an excuse to get his sexual needs satisfied! He needs to be jailed, and let the other prisoners there work on his weiner!
Posted by Miriam MELLETT on May 13, 2014 at 10:21 PM · Report this
372
All forms of all genital alterations on healthy children of ALL Genders is outragious and amounts to physical and often pychological damage - whether the child grows up to realize it or not. It is CHILD ABUSE to force not medically warranted costmetic surgery or bodily amputation onto a healthy child - just as it is assault to force the same onto a non- concenting adult. All readers join me in my Demand of Enforcement of Existing Law in all Nations by signing the Declaration of Demand at IntactHumanity.org.
Posted by Jeff Cowsert on June 12, 2014 at 5:02 AM · Report this

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