Gay circumcision ‘intactivist’ dies after long battle with depression (VIDEO)
Jonathon Conte spent his life protesting male circumcision in minors.
The lifetime advocate was a visible face in the world of “intactivism” – the campaign for the end of routine male circumcision.
Conte said the act – which sees four out of five men in the United States circumcised as infants – as a “blatant human rights violation”.
After realising he had been circumcised, he said that felt like a part of him had been cut away without his consent and felt like his parents had betrayed him.
This led to a long battle with depression, which ultimately saw the activist take his own life last week.
His partner, Christopher Holden, confirmed he was found dead in their shared apartment in San Francisco.
After returning home from work, Holden said heard soft music coming from the bedroom.
He found his partner with a bag over his head, connected to a helium tank.
“I went over there in shock and ripped it off and tried to do CPR, but of course it was too late,” he told The Bay Reporter.
“It’s very fast acting.”
Since his death, Holden added that other intactivists have given him “so much support”, sharing their memories of Conte on social media.
As part of his work, Conte would often march in Pride parades and protest against circumcision.
He also talked about his circumcision in a YouTube video published in 2011.
When he first learned he had been circumcised at 14, he said it led to feelings of “incompleteness, both physically and sexually.
“If I as a victim, and other victims, don’t speak out against this practice, it will continue, and more men will continue to experience the painful emotions I’ve had to deal with,” he added.
Last year, a survey found disturbingly high levels of depression, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts among gay men.
Watch a clip of Conte: