Amid downpour and shouts of disgruntled drivers, a group of about 20 protesters rallied in Gainesville on Thursday in a fight against male circumcision.
The Bloodstained Men and Their Friends, a nonprofit organization, stood on the corner of Southwest Archer Road and Southwest 34th Street wearing white bodysuits with faux bloodstains on their groins.
The group’s goal is to protect children and future generations from genital cutting, said founder Brother K, who legally changed his name in 1986.
“All genital mutilation of children is gruesome,” he said. “It’s a tragedy, and it’s a crime against humanity.”
Hoisting signs that read phrases like “Doctors lie, circumcision harms,” and “End male genital mutilation,” the group cheered between the honks — both supportive and oppositional — of passing drivers.
The protesters have seen their fair share of retaliation, K said. Besides the occasional cuss word and middle finger, boxes of tampons have been flung at the group. In Ocala on Wednesday, a woman released her dog in front of the group and yelled, “sic ‘em.”
“I won’t give up as long as I have breath in my body,” the 69-year-old said.
The nonprofit was founded in 2012 in response to a policy statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics that seemingly endorsed circumcision, K said. The group has traveled nationwide since then. They visited 60 cites in 2016.
The Florida cities on this year’s tour include Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Ocala and Panama City, said Harry Guiremand, a Bloodstained Men spokesperson. Gainesville was picked for this year’s tour because it’s a highly populated college town.
Guiremand has been protesting male circumcision nationwide for about 20 years. He said he fights for the babies who can’t speak for themselves.
“These babies cry because they do not want to be cut,” Guiremand said. “If somebody attacked your genitals with a knife, you’d be screaming, too.”
Stacey Van Buskirk, 24, a University of Michigan alumna, leads a group of more than a dozen protesters across Southwest 34th Street on Thursday morning. The protesters were comprised of the nonprofit group Bloodstained Men and Their Friends, who protest "children and future generations from genital cutting," as stated on their flyer.