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Redditor throws the kitchen sink at me

Andrew Gross December 10, 2022

Last month a Reddit user posted a comment in which he used nearly every intactivist weapon to attack me. [1] His comment was in reaction to a tweet in which I documented that circumcision opponents are hypocrites to complain about the mention of Jonathon Conte in the Circumcision Choice article, Intactivism is a mental disorder. [2] I'll take this opportunity to refute the various fallacies.

1. He calls me a coward. Ironically, he calls me a coward from a position of anonymity. Like many intactivists he hides behind a user name and an icon. By contrast I use my real name and photo. Because I've made my identity visible, intactivists have targeted me with hundreds of verbal personal attacks, sent private messages to my relatives, and threatened my job. When Circumcision Choice holds counter-protests, intactivists outnumber us typically from 5-to-1 to 20-to-1. We stand up to dozens of hateful fanatics who scream vile epithets at us. I may be guilty of some sins, but not cowardice.

2. He accuses me of harming children. Circumcision isn't harmful. But even if it were, I have never performed a circumcision. I have never promoted circumcision. I have never advised or encouraged a parent to circumcise her son. All I do is provide information. The facts and evidence show that circumcision is medically beneficial, not harmful. Science-based studies show that circumcision doesn't adversely affect the three functions of the penis. I have no concern whether or not a parent chooses circumcision for her infant son. I lose no sleep over the realization that every day millions of parents make a different decision than I would make.

3. He tries to gaslight me, declaring me "emotionally stunted," and he suggests that I need a therapist to help me "deal with [my] own feeling of harm and violation." Without any basis intactivists assume that every circumcised man subconsciously feels the same way as they do. I'm delighted to report that I am a happy middle-aged man with no mental health issues. I have no feelings, conscious or subconscious, of having been harmed or violated. I have no negative feelings - because circumcision is a common medical procedure that provides an array of preventative medical benefits and constitutes neither a violation nor a harm. Without going into details, I am enjoying a lifetime of sexual, medical, religious, and cultural benefits. I'm grateful that I was circumcised in infancy, such that I have no memory of any pain, discomfort, or embarrassment. Not once have I envied an uncircumcised man or wondered what it would be like to have a foreskin. On the contrary, I would be pleased to learn that my severed foreskin was used to treat burn victims or develop cosmetics and beauty products for celebrities. If technology to regenerate foreskins becomes available, I wouldn't use it - not in a million years.

Circumcision Choice has documented that intactivism, not circumcision, causes emotional stunting. Intactivists desperately need mental health therapy in order to assist them in dealing with their inappropriate and irrational feelings of harm and violation that lead to destructive impulses. [3]

4. He implies that I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to prove that circumcision is acceptable and desirable. (Paradoxically he then claims that he has spent more time studying the topic than I have.) Of course intactivists put circumcision defenders in a catch-22 situation. If we remain silent, their arguments go unchallenged. Yet if we speak up and refute their arguments, they accuse us of being obsessed. I've written articles for this website, and I prepare the daily posts for the Circumcision Choice Facebook page. Aside from those tasks and an occasional tweet, the topic of circumcision rarely crosses my mind.

On the contrary, the record shows that intactivists are the ones obsessed with circumcision. For example, Kenneth Hopkins, the leader of the Blood Stained Men who calls himself "Brother K," has directed his followers to search Facebook "all day" for any mention of circumcision; he calls it "a full-time job." [4] Over the past decade Hopkins has led more than 450 protests throughout the continental United States and Canada. Indiana intactivist Seth Anderson stated that he's "been searching Facebook every single day for [several] years" and "commented on thousands and thousands" of posts each year. [5] Toronto intactivist Melissa Annette was hospitalized at a mental health facility after she spent a week obsessively promoting intactivism, causing her to suffer exhaustion, insomnia, and loss of appetite, and requiring her husband to care for her son. [6] Many others belong to dozens of anti-circumcision Facebook groups. They spend much of their days searching for and responding to any mention of the "C" word across several social media platforms.

5. He boasts that in a debate he would disprove my "fallacious" arguments and annihilate my claims. This bravado indicates that he engages in bad faith. To argue that he would destroy my claims indicates that he would enter a discussion already rejecting the possibility that he might learn something new or that I might have even a single valid point. The most effective debater would not be so overconfident as to declare victory before a debate; he would not declare certainty that he would destroy an opponent's arguments. One never knows if an opponent will use new evidence that was previously unknown. One never knows if an opponent will retool or bolster his arguments to make them more effective. One never knows if an opponent will have a potent response that would neuter one's own arguments. And no matter how pleased I might be with my performance, I wouldn't declare victory even after a debate. I would leave that decision for others - preferably neutral non-partisans.

6. Of course he attacks me for my last name. He says it's a pity that my last name is "Gross." Why would my last name be a misfortune? I inherited my surname from my father, who got it from his father, who got it from his father ... passed down from generation to generation. [7] The same method by which other men receive their surnames. Why is that a pity? It's true that a last name like Gross does make one a target on the elementary school playground. Most of the bullying subsides as classmates mature during secondary education. Nowadays circumcision opponents are the only ones who've used my last name to insult me. And yet their attempts are thoughtless and lame compared to the clever insults I recall from decades ago. I guess it's true that an intactivist isn't smarter than a fifth grader.

This Reddit comment is a further indication that intactivists despise the fact that most circumcision men are happy or unconcerned. Intactivists are frantic and desperate to turn healthy men into victims so that they can expand their destructive cult. They hate that most men stand up to them and reject their false claims.

[1] throwaway65464231; comment on "Gross cutter uses logical fallacies and sloppy arguments to advocate circumcision" post in GrossCutters subreddit; November 7, 2022

[2] Andrew Gross tweet; October 28, 2022

[3] Cassie Waldeck; comment on Shelley Wright, Facebook note: "My personal struggle"; November 23, 2014. "We need support groups, this is an issue for all of us intactivists." Waldeck has served as Pennsylvania director for Your Whole Baby.

[4] Kenneth Hopkins; Facebook video; April 2, 2020

[5] Seth Anderson; Facebook comment; December 17, 2019

[6] Melissa Annette; Intactivism Uncensored Facebook group posts; May 4-5, 2020

[7] As he correctly notes, Gross is a German name that means "large, thick, whole." Perhaps the name was applied to my family line based on the size of our sex organs. ;-)


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