ARC Participates in Palm Springs Pride

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Tim Hammond Palm Springs Gay Pride
Tim Hammond educates passerby

Palm Springs Pride was celebrated on Sunday, November 6th with a morning parade and an afternoon festival. At Last year's Pride, ARC had an information booth organized and funded by Tim Hammond and staffed be a few local volunteers. Lacking the funds for a booth this year, two-thirds of the local intactivist group took to the streets to leaflet the festival-goers; that is to say two of the three members were there. Tim and Joe wore the traditional black and white 'Intact Genitals are a Human Right' t-shirt and stood in a shaded but busy corner of downtown Palm Springs handing out general information cards, as well as flyers supporting the Kickstarter program of the new documentary 'American Circumcision.'

Departing from our previously aggressive technique of handing out as many cards as we could, we decided that our t-shirt messages were enough to draw the people who needed to be drawn to us. Tim also sneakily fanned himself with a card in one hand to beat the desert heat while with the other hand he offered cards to passersby with the question 'would you like a little fan?'. Festival-goers appreciatively accepted the cards.

What we lacked in high volume distribution of cards we more than made up for in high quality connections. Tim spent 20 minutes talking with Louanne and Gerry, Louanne admitting that she was a physician at the local hospital and who does do some circumcisions, but she spends a lot of time counseling and deterring parents from the practice (with a high degree of success). Tim mentioned that Doctors Opposing Circumcision's new website has very valuable information and resources for physicians like her. She's also involved with the local medical school and residency programs and said she was interested to have someone talk to medical students on this issue.

One resident, originally from Britain and wearing a 'Che Guevara' t-shirt, pronounced how barbaric he found the American custom of infant circumcision to be. He admitted that it was not until he met his Jewish husband that he had ever encountered a circumcised penis. He seemed adamant that people need to work harder to eradicate the custom. Tim gave him one of our local intactivist business cards and invited him to join our monthly planning meetings.

Later, both Tim and Joe scored important connections with local high school students. On Tim's side of the street, a group of students wearing rainbow tie-dyed G.S.A. (Gay Straight  Alliance) t-shirts accepted cards from him. When he asked them if they ever have outside groups come to speak to the group, they said yes, so Tim discussed the issue of children's genital autonomy with them. They seemed quite interested and gave him the information he needed to talk to the group's organizer about scheduling a speaking engagement.  Meanwhile, on Joe's side of the street, a woman from the Desert Sands Unified School District approached him to discuss his t-shirt. She seemed very interested and passionate about the issue and gave Joe her business card and asked us to get in touch with her about making a presentation on the issue to local high schools.

All of this wonderful interaction occurred in the brief space of two hours on one intersection in a city in the middle of a desert. This day was a strong reminder that we don't always need large groups of intactivists to have a big impact. Sometimes it's the quality of our connections, rather than quantity of leaflets we distribute, that can be the true measure of a successful intactivist presence.