Unnecessary Male Circumcision is different – and in some cases worse – than Female Circumcision. However boys around the world do not have the same legal protection against unnecessary genital cutting as girls.
This 5 minute You Tube video explains some of the different types of unnecessary male and female genital cutting and how they compare with each other - click here to view this now.
From the perspective of protecting boys from this unnecessary and sometimes dangerous procedure – the important difference between the two practices is that while the international community is working together to take a zero tolerance approach against unnecessary female genital surgery - we are not taking collective action to prevent the unnecessary genital cutting of boys.
So whilst it is perfectly legal to perform painful, non-consensual, medically unnecessary circumcisions on boys in non-clinical settings in the UK – it is illegal to perform any type of unnecessary genital surgery on girls.
Put simply – it is legal in the UK for adults to perform these painful and unnecessary rituals on boys’ genitals, but it is illegal to perform such rituals on girls’ genitals.
Any attempts to find compromise solutions on unnecessary female genital cutting are resisted by the international community – as was the case in Seattle where mothers in the Somali community could not understand why it was legal to circumcise their boys but not legal to circumcise their girls.
The women attempted to work with the medical authorities to agree a clinically safe ‘symbolic’ alternative for their daughters – which was less invasive than the medically unnecessary surgery the hospital performed on their sons – but this “Seattle Compromise” was opposed by campaigners and never saw the light of day.
The story of the Seattle Compromise demonstrates that the main difference between Unnecessary Male Circumcision and female circumcision is that the International community currently turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to Unnecessary Male Circumcision whilst taking a zero tolerance approach to Female Genital Mutilation.
For those interested in UK-based work to tackle Female Genital Mutilation see the charities Forward and 28 Too Many.
For other sources on this issue read an interview with Shamis Dirir, founder of the Black Women's Health and Family Support Project or read online articles on FGC vs MGC or download Male Genital Mutilation: Beyond the Tolerable, a report by Mathew Johnson at Newcastle University.