Coverage (media, not glans)
Foreskin Booth at Castro Street Fair: Glen Callender to Perform Penis Tricks
SF Weekly, September 27 2011
After the Folsom Street Fair and the Castro nude-in this past weekend, we can only assume that 1. everyone has seen enough penis for one month, and 2. nothing about the male genitalia could possibly shock San Franciscans at this point.
But alas, Glen Callender, the Canadian comedian and foreskin avenger, is planning to bring his penis to the Castro Street Fair — and shock you.
Both educational and amusing, we’re sure, Callender, the founder of the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project (CAN-FAP!), will have his very own booth at the Sunday event dedicated to what he calls “penis puppetry.”
He’ll be performing tricks with his foreskin to help the average bypasser better understand why that fold of skin is so essential to a man’s life. “I’m going to show people what the foreskin is and what it’s capable of,” Callender told us. “There’s a lot of real estate there.”
So what is so fabulous about foreskin? Callender explains that it is the most pleasurable part of a man’s body — and depriving any male of it is criminal. “I enjoy my foreskin. It’s my favorite part of my body,” Callender says.
And this is why he’s made it his part-time job to travel North America and perform penis tricks; however, he explains, it’s less for amusement and more to inform people about why baby boys should not be subjected to “foreskin mutilation.”
“I am using my foreskin to protect boys from knives,” he explains.
Believe it or not, plenty of men in San Francisco are mad at their parents for having snipped off their foreskin, Callender tells us. He’s heard these complaints from men — mostly at gay pride and Folsom Street Fair where he also did his foreskin gig — who would have loved to ban circumcision in San Francisco. The proposed measure to criminalize circumcision was dropped from the ballot in July after religious groups and the San Francisco city attorney filed a lawsuit.
But the Castro Street Fair is the perfect venue for this kind of penis play, which Callender promises will enlighten even the kinkiest gay man.
“Gay men are way ahead of straight men on this issue, because they know firsthand that men with foreskin have more fun,” Callender says.
Read this article (plus reader comments) at the SF Weekly web site.
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An interview with the founder of CAN-FAP
The Cascade, September 21 2011
Vancouver has a number of internationally-known intactivists, but perhaps the best known is the hilarious, but genuine Glen Callender, founder of the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project (CAN-FAP).
Why should university students care about this issue, especially if they aren’t having kids yet?
University students should care because they will probably have kids someday, and the last thing anyone wants to do is hurt their child. From my perspective, university students are an ideal group to talk to, precisely because most of them haven’t had kids yet. People who have already cut their sons are much harder to reach, because it’s difficult for any parent to face the fact that they have sexually mutilated their child — even though they thought they were doing the right thing at the time.
Why is this such a hot-button issue in Vancouver?
B.C. is one of the least circumcised provinces in Canada, partly because B.C.’s Medicare program was the first to stop paying for circumcisions (in 1984). Today less than 10 per cent of B.C. boys are circumcised, and now that they are in the minority, young circumcised men are realizing that they are missing something, and they are increasingly unhappy about the fact that the most sensitive and enjoyable parts of their penises were cut off for no good reason.
What is the purpose of [Glen’s seminar] “Foreskin 101” and how is it being received?
“Foreskin 101” is an educational seminar about the anatomy, functions, and pleasure potential of the intact penis. Using my own penis and some multimedia materials, I demonstrate how to achieve several different types of orgasm — including the elusive male multiple orgasm — by stimulating different areas of the inner foreskin.
I think of “Foreskin 101” as my revenge against the B.C. sex ed curriculum, because when I went through sex ed in the 1980s, there was no foreskin on the diagram of the penis in the textbook. As a result of this horrible failure to educate people about foreskin, many people today still swallow the BS line that foreskin is just vestigial “extra skin” that doesn’t really matter to a man’s sexual pleasure. In fact, the inner foreskin is by far the most sensitive and orgasmic part of the penis, and I can prove it.
As for how the seminar is being received, I’ve presented it three times so far and the response has been tremendously positive — I’ve been getting rave reviews from circumcised men, intact men and women alike. Eventually I’ll be putting the material online so every Canadian can have access to it from the comfort of their home.
If a woman (or man) finds that, seemingly against her own will, she finds a penis with foreskin less appealing than the variety she’s used to, what should she do? What is the solution?
Hatred of foreskin is like hatred of black cats: it is 100 per cent learned. If you have been “educated” to dislike foreskin, counter that by educating yourself about what foreskin truly is and what it does. When you know what the foreskin actually is and what its benefits are for both the man and woman — and there are many benefits — you’ll appreciate it a lot more. Also, switch to European porn, so you can see intact penises in action. Canada is saturated with circumcised American porn, which creates a false normality.
This issue isn’t about making circumcised men out to be mutilated or worse lovers, so what should circumcised men learning about the intactivist movement keep in mind?
Actually, this issue is partly about informing circumcised men that they are indeed mutilated — they are missing more than half of their penile nerves (including the five most sensitive parts of their penises) and approximately half of their penile skin (including the critical, nerve rich inner mucous membranes, which reduce friction on both the penis and vagina during intercourse). What’s worse, everything that is exposed by the missing foreskin is gradually building up a thicker and thicker layer of scar tissue and losing even more sensitivity. Men circumcised in infancy will live their entire lives never once knowing how sex is supposed to feel. Their bodies and erotic lives have been arbitrarily censored, and it’s impossible to completely repair the damage.
And that’s a tragedy.
I will not perpetuate the ridiculous fiction that it really doesn’t make any difference if a man is circumcised or not, because giving cut men false assurances that their penises are not diminished leads to more baby boys being cut. Most circumcised men today are leaving their sons intact because they know that circumcision is harmful and unnecessary, and I am dedicated to continuing that trend, not undermining it.
Circumcised men learning about the intactivist movement should keep in mind that intactivists are not against circumcision per se: we have no objection to consenting adults modifying their bodies as they see fit. We are opposed to circumcision being forced upon children. This really isn’t about circumcised men, because, unfortunately, it’s too late for them. It’s about protecting the children yet to be born.
Circumcised men should also understand that intactivists are not attacking their penises: that is what the person with the knife did. Ironically, we are actually defending their penises, or more accurately, defending the penises they were born with. We assert that circumcised men were perfect and healthy and normal when they were born: their penises were not deformed, ugly, or unhygienic. Their penises did not require urgent surgical correction. Over 80 percent of the men on this planet have their foreskin, they are perfectly healthy, and they are not complaining. These are the realities that every cut man must face, because it is of vital importance that, should they have a son, they break the cycle and leave him intact so he can live his sex life to the fullest.
What’s the best thing about having a foreskin?
In my case, the extremely intense multiple orgasms. At the seminar I show a video clip of me having five orgasms — including ejaculations — within five minutes, all without touching the head of my penis or “jerking” my hand up and down the shaft. All I’m doing is lightly massaging my inner foreskin! I’ll be putting a “multiple foregasm” demonstration video up on the CAN-FAP web site later this year — believe me, it’s the wank video every Canadian should see.
How can people get involved?
On a personal level, have a serious discussion with anyone you know who is expecting a baby boy. It may be a sensitive subject, but it’s a vitally important issue because kids being cut today will live most of their lives in a very different world — a world where foreskin is respected, protected and even admired — and they will be much angrier about their circumcisions than men of previous generations.
Second, if there isn’t an intactivist group on your campus, start one. It’s time for Canadian youth to get active on this issue, because there will be a fight over this, just like there were fights for queer equality, women’s reproductive freedom, and the rest. Canadian males will not truly have sexual freedom so long as other people have the right to arbitrarily amputate their sex organs. The right to a whole body is a basic human right, and yes, it’s worth fighting for.
For those interested in getting involved, ‘Like’ the CAN-FAP page on Facebook to stay in the loop about upcoming CAN-FAP events.
Read the full feature “Dick Move: Everything You Need To Know About Circumcision” (plus reader comments) here.
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Let my penis go: Is male circumcision barbaric or necessary?
Vue Weekly, August 31 2011
Glen Callender thinks it should be illegal to circumcise a male child. An uncircumcised man, Callender is also the founder of the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project (CAN-FAP). You might have noticed, or attended, Callender’s free workshop at the Fringe this year. It’s a presentation he’s taken to cities across Western Canada to spread his message.
As Callender points out it is already illegal under section 268 of the Criminal Code of Canada to cut the genitals of a female child in anyway unless absolutely medically necessary. Why then, Callender asks, is it still okay cut off a boy’s foreskin? “Chopping off a large part of a boy’s penis is completely incompatible with modern values of personal and religious freedom,” he says. “If we’re going to protect the genitals of girls from unnecessary surgery, then our constitution requires that boys receive equal protection under the law.”
When asked point blank why he thinks there’s a double standard, Callender is stark: “Because circumcising boys is in the Bible. That’s the only reason there’s a double standard. In the Bible, God says to Abraham to circumcise his sons and slaves. Now, I think we all know that buying somebody and circumcising them against their will, that’s evil, that’s wrong . . . . but the first half of that commandment is still considered okay by most people.”
This assertion, however, doesn’t sit well with Rabbi David Kunin, the spiritual leader of Edmonton’s Beth Shalom Synagogue. “For reasons of religious freedom in Canada, I’m worried about people labeling circumcision and trying to enforce norms of a majority culture. But, in addition, I think there is significant medical evidence of positive values to circumcision,” Rabbi Kunin points out.
Dr Peter Metcalfe, an Edmonton-based pediatric urologist adds: “I think it’s hard to lump female circumcision and male circumcision together as the same thing. The type of female circumcision that gets a lot of press is basically an amputation of the clitoris which would be akin to amputating the penis. So there’s a big difference between what we refer to as female circumcision and male circumcision,” says Metcalfe. “Female circumcision is a hugely morbid procedure. In some places it has a mortality rate of up to five percent. So one in 20 girls are dying, if not higher. And it completely removes part of their genital sensation and significantly interferes with their ability have intercourse and to have babies, so I think it’s very difficult to compare the two.”
Dr Metcalfe adds that — in Canada, at least — there’s no difference between a circumcised and uncircumcised boy. “The kids are going to be no happier or healthier with or without their foreskin,” says Metcalfe. “It certainly might make a difference in Africa where HIV is a huge problem: [in countries like Swaziland] upwards of 50 percent of people are infected with the virus. In those situations, circumcision seems to reduce the risk of HIV in an order of magnitude of about 10 percent over two years. And so the World Health Organization has adopted a stance that circumcision should be performed in those countries.”
Dr Metcalfe adds, however, that the difference in Edmonton is that we don’t have HIV infection rates of 50 percent. Statistically speaking, tens of thousands of children would need to be circumcised in Edmonton to prevent a single transmission of HIV in the city. In Edmonton, he adds, we also have much better ways of preventing the transmission like condoms and abstinence. “The way I explain it to parents is that there is no medical benefit to doing it but there certainly are a lot of religions and cultures that feel it is extremely important. And I don’t think you can argue against that.” says, Metcalfe. “For more than 2000 years, mohels have been performing circumcisions. If they feel it is such an important part of their religious beliefs and they can do it in a safe way, then I don’t think we have the right to say that it cannot be done.”
Callender claims that circumcision impairs sexual function but Dr Metcalfe again counters this argument. “I don’t think there is any scientific or even cultural data to back that up. Most circumcised men have normal, happy, healthy sex lives,” Dr Metcalfe notes.
For Callender however, this is all deviates from the main issue: “The main issue is whose foreskin is it? Is it the parents’ foreskin? Is it God’s foreskin? In this country, a girl’s foreskin is hers by the law. It is protected until she is an adult and then she is allowed to modify it however she likes after she becomes an adult. Why doesn’t a boy have the same rights?”
Read this article (plus reader comments) at the Vue Weekly website.
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Foreskin Awareness Booth (Edmonton Fringe Review)
Vue Weekly, August 15 2011
Step into the tent, and you will, in time, see a man’s foreskin bulging with red seedless grapes like tiny misplaced abs. You spend most of the show’s 15-minute runtime staring at a bearded fellow’s penis as he talks to you. You’ve been given fair warning. Not officially a show, per se, with no tickets to be bought and the cost being only what you choose to donate at the end, the Foreskin Awareness Booth offers both a wealth of information about foreskin in 15 minutes — its biological reason for being, its pleasurable reason for being, the dangers and long-term effects of lopping it off, and why that should be the choice an adult makes rather than a decision made for a young child — as well as showing you just how many grapes a man can fit into his foreskin. Whatever number you just thought of, go higher.
Rating: 3 stars (of 5)
Read this review at the Vue Weekly website.
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From circumcision to homophobia in sports and more
Xtra.ca, July 28 2011
Wearing only a black “I love my foreskin” t-shirt, Glen Callender pulled ecstatically on his foreskin-draped penis a few feet from the front row.
“I am gong to blow your mind, believe me,” he smiled. “I am about to undermine one of the great sexual myths of our time. The shock of what I am about to do may cause you to pass out.”
He then went on to demonstrate the washing of his penis in an imaginary shower. If you weren’t there, you really missed out.
Callender’s adults-only Thursday morning workshop on the dangers of male circumcision (and the purportedly non-existent science behind it) was one of the many highlights of the Vancouver 2011 Outgames Human Rights conference. In addition to the visual enlightenment, attendees of his packed session were given a condensed rundown on the drawbacks of male circumcision that left the doubters convinced and the bashful a giddy shade of red (the pants never did get put back on).
For the past three days, dozens of speakers and hundreds of delegates have assembled at the Sheraton Wall Centre in downtown Vancouver to celebrate and recognize the social struggles behind the idea of the Outgames....
Read the full article (plus reader comments) here.
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Lawsuit filed to nip anti-circumcision initiative (photo)
Bay Area Reporter, June 30 2011
Read the full article here.
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Foreskin activist Glen Callender talks circumcision and performs astounding feats with fruit
SF Weekly, June 28 2011
Everybody loves an incredible dick trick, especially one performed for a political cause. That’s just what Glen Callender, the founder of the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project (CAN-FAP!) presented over San Francisco Pride weekend at Civic Center.
In case you missed it, Callender was the guy dressed in a white lab coat guiding groups of UN Plaza passers-by inside his foreskin demonstration booth, a white tent adorned with red and white Canadian flags and a banner declaring “Foreskin is Fabulous!”
In the tent, groups of 20 people watched as Callender disrobed and exposed his “I ♥ My Foreskin!” t-shirt and uncut dick. Callender then demonstrated the natural grape-carrying capacity of his foreskin by unloading guess how many red seedless grapes from his flap? Finally, he displayed the difference between cleaning a circumcised and uncircumcised penis, showing that it’s not that difficult.
Both hilarious and informative, the show provided more than exhibitionism and penis puppetry. A comedian from Vancouver BC, Callender has been displaying his foreskin to Canadians for a year. But he specifically brought his one-man act to SF to sway voters to support the city’s anti-infant circumcision ballot initiative. “No one should vote on the ballot initiative who hasn’t seen a foreskin in action,” CAN-FAP’s press release stated.
Like the Bay Area Intactivists, who aptly had a booth stationed next to CAN-FAP, Callender is anti-infant circumcision and believes that promoting foreskin awareness will help create converts and legislative action against the tradition. “I feel like I won the stupidest lottery in the history of the universe by escaping the early 1970s with my foreskin when most boys at that time were cut,” Callender told SF Weekly.
Callender shared his foreskin love with an estimated 225 people over the weekend. The CAN-FAP banner has since become viral on Reddit.
SF Weekly caught up with the penis puppeteer via email to talk more about foreskin and the anti-infant circumcision issue.
First off, why did you decide to bring your foreskin demonstration to Pride specifically?
The Pride crowd is generally very open-minded, sex-positive, and progressive. Also, queer men interact with penises other than their own, so most of them are keenly aware that men with foreskin enjoy sex more.
How does foreskin affect intercourse?
Circumcision removes more than half of the penis’s nerves, and all of the most sensitive fine-touch nerves. It makes a huge difference to a man’s sex life. Many American women experience pain and soreness during sex and are diagnosed with a ‘lack of vaginal moisture’, when the real problem is that their man is circumcised and the unnaturally dry and rough surfaces of his penis are chafing her.
The mucous membranes of the penis and vagina normally lubricate each other during sex, ensuring a smooth and pleasurable experience for both partners. However, when a penis is circumcised most of its mucous membrane is removed and the head of the penis builds up a layer of scar tissue to protect it from the elements, making it harder and more abrasive. As a result, the toughened circumcised penis tends to chafe the delicate mucous membranes of the vagina.
If circumcision has so many adverse affects why has it been performed for so long?
In modern times, circumcision was introduced by Victorian doctors who wanted to stop boys from masturbating and stop men from committing adultery and going to prostitutes. The theory was to leave a man with the bare minimum amount of penis that would still be functional for procreation, thus trimming away all the excess lust that a fine upstanding Victorian man had no use for. Since then the rationale for cutting boys has changed with each generation. Circumcision has always been a cure in search of a disease.
What about choice? You may have heard that religious groups have filed a lawsuit to remove San Francisco’s proposed circumcision ban from the ballot. Given that circumcision has been practiced by some traditions for a thousand years, what do you say to the religious freedom argument for infant circumcision?
Everyone has the right to choose their religion and decide which traditions they wish to follow, and we all know that children do not necessarily adopt the beliefs of their parents, so ritual amputations such as circumcision should be delayed until adulthood when the owner of the body in question can give informed consent.
To be clear, everybody has the right to be circumcised, and everybody has the right not to be circumcised. The way to protect both of these rights is to ensure that adults can modify their bodies as they see fit, and ensure that children can’t have circumcision forced upon them. A boy’s foreskin doesn’t belong to God, the government, or his parents—it belongs to him. Therefore, it should be his decision.
People may wonder why, out of all the fucked-up shit happening in our world, you might choose circumcision as your cause célèbre.
The truth is that the genital mutilation of children IS one of the most fucked-up things happening in our world. I think that most people who watch a video of a baby being circumcised would agree that this is absolutely immoral, yet it happens to 3000 baby boys a day, every day in the United States.
Once upon a time, Americans thought abuses such as slavery and the execution of ‘witches’ and queers were acceptable. I am confident that when Americans take a hard, honest look at infant circumcision they’ll realize that it is also an abusive institution, and enact legislation that ensures that all children are protected from genital mutilation.
What do you see in the infant circumcision debate’s future?
I know I’m going to live to see the largest class action suit in history. When circumcised American men become better educated about the harm of circumcision, millions will sue the doctors who cut them. The American Academy of Pediatrics confirmed in 1971 that there is no medical reason to circumcise a healthy baby boy, and there could be no greater malpractice than to take perfectly healthy children and subject them to an unnecessary amputation.
Read this article (plus reader comments) here.
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CAN-FAP banner goes viral
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Banking on Pride (mention)
Bay Area Reporter, June 23 2011 p. 1
Politics will also be on display [at San Francisco Pride], with the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project’s booth. Project founder Glen Callender said in an email they would be one of the “weirdest” things at Pride. They’ll also be timely, as San Francisco residents will have a chance to vote on a circumcision ban in November.
Read the full article here.
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Foreskin Awareness Booth at Car Free Vancouver Day
Bonobo3D’s YouTube report on the CAN-FAP Foreskin Awareness Booth’s appearance at Car Free Vancouver Day (Denman/West End node) on June 19 2011:
See the unembedded version of this clip here.