December 6, 2018
On the weekend of November 3-4 the American Academy of Pediatrics held its annual conference in Orlando, Florida during the weekend of November 3-4. Intactivists were there and so were three members of Circumcision Choice. Here is our report.
Previous AAP Conferences in San Francisco and Chicago were held at convention centers very close to the street. So protesters could get in the faces of the conference participants. But in Orlando the Orange County Convention Center facility is set back, with 100-300 feet of lush foliage between the building and the street. Additionally several elevated walkways connect the facility to nearby hotels. So while the intactivists had an impressive turnout of between 40 and 50 protesters, for the most part they were demonstrating without an audience to see them. Few of the 15,000 AAP Conference attendees even saw them.
This setup also made it difficult for the Circumcision Choice team to meet doctors. We set up by a crosswalk between the convention center and the Hyatt Regency. Kenneth Hopkins - the leader of the Blood Stained Men who calls himself Brother K - had warned intactivists not to speak with us. Nevertheless we had a few conversations with some of them - some more cordial than others.
On Saturday afternoon we noticed a man using a megaphone to yell at doctors who were ascending one of the walkways. Although the protesters were not allowed within arm's length, they could yell or bark at the attendees in this one area. I strode over, positioned myself about 30 feet away, cupped my hands, and yelled "BOOORING ... BOOORING ... BOOORING!" By doing so I got his attention. He turned to me and started yelling at me through the megaphone.
I quickly recognized him as Daniel Rold, a relatively new member of the intactivist movement. Rold is a hothead who posted a series of videos of himself screaming epithets and whining about circumcision ... and reading verbatim complete chapters from the Paul Fleiss book - until YouTube deactivated his channel. A few months earlier I had a short 20-minute private message with Rold, which ended with him blocking me. Now he was yelling the same arguments at me through the megaphone. Which was fine with me. So long as he was yelling at me, he couldn't harass the heroic AAP physicians.
After about 5-10 minutes he came up to me and we went nose-to-nose, continuing the argument that had begun online. He cited a study of 22 foreskins by pathologist John Taylor, and I replied that Taylor's study of dead corpses cannot tell us anything about the effect of circumcision on sexual pleasure. After we yelled at each other for a few minutes, Rold made some snarky comments as he passed my fellow counter-protesters.
The next morning we started our counter-protest across the street - in the location that the intactivists had used. A few minutes later they arrived and started setting up around us, trying their best to ignore us.
After a few minutes we returned to the crosswalk where we had been on Saturday. We chatted with several doctors and handed Circumcision Choice postcards. They told us that no one inside the convention center took the anti-circumcision protest serious. Doctors were laughing at the intactivists. One of them told us “I’ve never seen anything like it. They’re so stupid.”
When a few protesters started to yell at the doctors, I went over to the intactivists, pulled out my megaphone, and challenged them. I read several posts and comments by intactivists showing their malice, cruelty, insanity, and approval of violence.
I finished by telling them, "Intactivists don't save babies. You may save foreskins, but you don't save babies. These doctors save babies. These doctors save children. For you to strut around and brag that your'e 'savin' babies' while you demean and insult and vilify the heroic doctors who actually do save babies - it is offensive and obscene!"
My speech was met with wild applause from the doctors on the elevated walkway. That made it all worthwhile. Even after three years intactivists still don't understand our counter-protests. They think that we're trying to promote circumcision and disrupt their protest. In reality, our primary purpose has been to stand in support of the doctors who are the real heroes.
Read about our earlier events