The Nordic Countries often lead the way on human rights issues. Morten Frisch, MD, Denmark has refused to sign a petition concerning FGM – He points out the world should aim to stop HGM (Human Genital Mutilation) an inclusive term that includes all unnecessary genital surgery on all children irrespective of sex, which might be male, female or intersex.
HGM! This must be the way to go… FGM legislation has been a failure in th UK and USA – how can you tell a family “Do what you like with your son’s genitals – but touch your daughter’s genitals and we’ll lock you up!”
HGM also encompasses the plight of many intersex individuals whose physical gender has been decided by well meaning or curious Surgeons – without informed consent from the people concerned …
It is said the simplest innovations are often the best … I think we’ll be hearing a lot more of this term… “HGM” it is a step forward in greater understanding for all people.
Thank you, Morten Frisch.
“Dear friends in Avaaz
I have signed several of your well-argued human rights based campaigns in the past. This time, however, where your focus is on banning female genital cutting in Somalia, I have decided not to sign.
Here’s why. Like you, I’m grossly offended by such gruesome acts of violence as those you are now protesting against in Somalia. Whenever I sign a petition, however, I do so believing that my signature, in combination with tens of thousands of cosignatories from all over the world, will have a fair chance of making a difference.
With respect to ending female genital cutting by signing petitions, which I have done repeatedly in the past, I simply do not have faith in the project any longer.
Medically unnecessary surgery on healthy children’s genitals is ethically unacceptable and constitutes both parental and medical malpractice regardless of the sex of the offended child. In no country worldwide is female genital cutting practised without boys in the same culture also being cut.
As long as people in power, notably religious leaders, international donors, politicians, doctors, and parents, continue to endorse the practice of forced genital cutting of boys, any fight in the same culture to put female genital cutting to an end will be in vain. No one will ever be able to lastingly convince anyone with a strong cultural tradition for cutting girls that such genital surgery is a despicable act of power, for as long as it remains socially accepted in the same culture to hold defenceless boys down and cut off a sensitive and functional part of their penises. This is why I decided not to sign your petition; I simply don’t trust that it has the potential to change anything.
… As mentioned, I support a lot of your initiatives. And I share your hopes that female genital cutting will come to an end. I wish you every success in reaching your goal of 500,000 signatures, and I would be delighted to learn that I was wrong, and that your petition really made a difference for girls in Somalia. I just don’t think your many signatures will matter much for the cultural reasons outlined above. If they want to, people who disagree with me on this can follow this link and add their name to your petition:
I hope you read this in the positive vein it was written. At some point in the future, I should be delighted to learn about a powerful gender-neutral campaign from you, which condemns all kinds of non-consensual, non-therapeutic genital cutting worldwide. A one-eyed focus on the right to bodily integrity for only one sex is simply no longer appropriate.
Sincerely, Morten Frisch, MD, Copenhagen, Denmark”