Philadelphia

Circumcision Protesters Shock WMOF Attendees in Philly

David Atkinson got all kinds of reactions from passersby as he stood outside Philadelphia's City Hall with a fake bloodstain on the crotch of his white jeans, waving a sign that read, "Foreskin theft!"

Some were supportive. Others, not so much.

"We do get a lot of heckles," Atkinson, 27, conceded. The Long Island native said he started demonstrating with Bloodstained Men, an organization against circumcision, about a year ago. "We get heckles every city we go to, but we also get a lot of support. People say, 'Where were you when I was born?'"

Morgan Zalot
A protester from the organization Bloodstained Men explains the group's stance on circumcision to a woman outside Philadelphia City Hall during a demonstration Thursday.

Atkinson and a handful of others -- mostly men, but one woman, too -- demonstrated outside City Hall on Thursday afternoon as hordes of people passed the intersection. Atkinson said the group's trip to Philly is part of an East Coast tour they're doing, and that it coincidentally happened at the same time that the World Meeting of Families is in town and travelers are flocking to the city for Pope Francis' weekend visit.

"We didn't even know," Atkinson said of the papal visit.

Supporters of the group call themselves "intactivists" who believes that every child, regardless of their gender or parents' beliefs, has the right to preserve their genitals in the way they were born, according to their website. He said his organization believes circumcision is "a human-rights issue." 

His fellow protesters -- who all wore white jeans with faux bloodstains at the groin -- waved loud signs declaring, "How DARE You Cut HIS Penis!" and "Stop cutting baby penis" in bold black lettering.

"We're here to let people know that foreskins are healthy and valuable," Atkinson said. "Because men grow up and realize they want to keep their genitals intact."

Morgan Zalot
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