On March 27th the Department of Health reaffirmed its guidelines on FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and under these they class piercings as FGM.Classing genital piercing as an illegal and mutilating act the same as other FGM practices, to me sounded too overzealous and surly media twisting what the NHS and department of health meant.I recall thinking, obviously they meant if piercing was done under the age of 18 and without consent that would be abhorrent and wrong.So I went looking and yes the original Female Genital Mutilation Act of 2003 would, if you follow it by the letter make vaginal piercings illegal but this law clearly was not written with piercings in mind. It was written to combat the horrific practices of FGM and the lack of direct mention and exception of piercings by consenting adults is an oversight.
This oversight recently has been brought forward and clarified. According to the NHS FGM guidence for professionals piercing is clearly classed as FGM and should be reported. I had assumed this was in regard to under 18s and without consent. I further clarified no other than the NHS FGM Helpline but evidently the common sense I assigned to government was misplaced. The conversation was as follows:
FGM Helpline: "Sorry to keep you waiting had to clarify yes. according to department of health is piercing to that area does now count as FGM."
Me: "Even for consenting adults? "
FGM Helpline: "Yes even for consenting adults, it's counted as a procedure to that area. If I can direct you to the department of health website should have the legislation your after."
Me: "That is barmy."
FGM Helpline: "Thank you for your call."
For consenting adults is the main point. In the defence of horrific acts on young girls and women they have taken the right away from all to make a choice.
Female genital mutilation is horrific and has no part in a free and equal society but there is a huge difference between FGM and genital piercings. If an adult person wants to pierce their genitals and it is a totally free choice then it should be left as that, a free choice. What has happened is common sense has been thrown out with this knee jerk reaction towards FGM because of the horror it rightly rises in people. Policy and laws should not be made in a knee jerk manner. Not to mention circumcision not being regarded as genital mutilation strikes me as hypocritical but it seems only female genital mutilation is the focus of concern.
There is question whether Doctors would actually report the vaginal piercings of patients. I asked one and the response was:
"I wouldn't think to normally, unless there would be disciplinary or malpractice action against us for not doing so." The Doctor in question has asked not to be identified but the Doctor went on to say that he/she wouldn't recommend them but it's a choice.
There is also a concerns among some I have spoke to that have vaginal piercings and perform them (legally I should add)
"There is a worry that some clued up and disproving parents will use this as an excuse to stop their daughters making aesthetic choices they don't agree with, another F##cking step towards conformity". This was said by a Vale of Glamorgan constituent and someone that works in the trade.So there we have it. The UK in a round about way has made some vaginas... illegal.