October 9, 2014 10:41 am

Actor Alan Cumming speaks out against infant circumcision

Actor Alan Cumming, pictured on Oct. 6, 2014.

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TORONTO — Actor Alan Cumming is urging parents of newborn boys to keep the tip.

“I think circumcision is genital mutilation,” Cumming said, in an interview with dot429. “There is a reason you have foreskin.”

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The Tony Award-winning Cabaret star said he was surprised to discover how much more prevalent circumcision is in North America than in Europe.

“It was only when I came to America that I realized what a common practice circumcision is. I’d show my penis to people, and they’d go, ‘Oh my God! What’s that?’ They were so amazed and utterly unused to and unexposed to the natural body of a man,” Cumming, 49, recalled.

“I thought that was a shocking thing. I was gobsmacked by that.”

Cumming, who stars as Eli Gold on The Good Wife, has just published a memoir entitled Not My Father’s Son.

A self-described “intactivist,” he said it doesn’t make sense to remove foreskin.

“I mean, you lose sensation there if you’re circumcised,” he said. “From my point of view as a sexual and sensual person, the idea that you would hack away at that and lose sensitivity and nerve endings on the most pleasurable and sensitive part of your body is terrible.”

Cumming partnered with British charity NORM-UK — which opposes circumcision — in 2007 and is currently on the board of advocates for Intact America along with fellow actor Bill Irwin (Law & Order: SVU).

READ MORE: Should circumcision be mandatory?

According to the World Health Organization, only about 30 per cent of males age 15 and over are circumcised.

In Canada, rates of circumcision vary from province to province but have dropped significantly since the 1970s. The procedure has not been covered by provincial health insurance plans since the ’90s.

Studies show uncircumcised males are three times more likely to develop cancer of the penis — an extremely rare form of cancer — than circumcised males and also have higher rates of urinary tract infections and some sexually-transmitted diseases.

The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) currently tells parents: “After reviewing the scientific evidence for and against circumcision, the CPS does not recommend routine circumcision for newborn boys.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics said in 2012 “the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks, but the benefits are not great enough to recommend universal newborn circumcision.”

Some religions require boys to be circumcised after birth. In February, actor Jason Biggs and his wife Jenny Mollen were criticized on social media after they shared photos of their son’s bris — a traditional Jewish circumcision ceremony.

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