Worldwide Day of Genital Autonomy 2024

7th May 2024 Worldwide Day of Genital Autonomy 12th  Anniversary of the "Cologne Ruling"


Meeting point and photo opportunity:
Saturday, 4th of May 2024, 11:00 a.m. - Rudolfplatz, 50674 Cologne, followed by rally into the city centre

Central rally with speeches:
12:00 noon - Heumarkt


Live-Stream directly from Cologne and pre-produced videos from 11:15 a.m. and further posts after announcement on, YouTube and Facebook.

Further events related to WWDOGA - national and international:

Check out this year's flyer HERE.


This will be the twelfth anniversary of the "Cologne Ruling". In 2012, for the first time, a court explicitly granted boys the right to genital self-determination by concluding that medically unnecessary foreskin removal ("circumcision") from a boy is an offense. This decision has since become a worldwide beacon for the self-determination of children regardless of gender, ancestry or religion.

This year's main focus: GENITAL AUTONOMY and health!

Throughout history, genitalia and sexuality have often been viewed as threatening and a source of disease across cultures. Recognising them in the context of appreciation, well-being and health is relatively new and is still met with taboos and resistance today.  WWDOGA takes a closer look and brings together international perspectives!


The "Worldwide Day of Genital Autonomy" calls for:

  • Adherence to and implementation of the UN-Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 2 (protection against discrimination); Article 3 (precedence of children's well-being); and Article 24 Paragraph 3 (abolishment of traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children).
  • Legislative initiatives worldwide that provide for the protection of all children, regardless of gender, from non-therapeutic genital operations.
  • Protection of children with atypical sex characteristics from genital surgery and intervention without absolute medical indication.
  • An immediate stop to group or mass circumcision of minor males (boys) for alleged HIV prevention in African countries.
  • Public research and education on the consequences of non-therapeutic genital surgery on children in its different forms and social contexts.


Main Focus 2024: Genital Autonomy and health

Each part of the genitals has its own important functions that contribute to fulfilling sexuality and therefore also to health. Unfortunately, there are still many prejudices and derogatory stereotypes about some of these body parts today: They supposedly tend to be "superfluous", difficult to procure for ensuring personal hygiene or even detrimental to health. This "body shaming" also found its way into medicine at the end of the 19th century and still leads to controversial debates there today (see e.g. "European paediatricians criticise AAP statement on circumcision"). Discussions about medical indications for genital interventions on children are ongoing. Knowledge and research on the anatomy and development of the genital organs are of essential importance here. In addition, self-determination must be a central criterion in order to ensure that children receive all necessary medical care in compelling individual cases, while at the same time protecting them from unnecessary treatment or irreversible operations. WWDOGA also brings together different perspectives in this important regard: Those affected, specialist expertise, parents, human rights organisations and politicians.



When will girls finally be protected?

According to the WHO, female genital mutilation refers to all practices in which the outer genitalia are partly or completely removed, as well as to all other injuries to the female genitalia that are not medically indicated. Depending on the motives and category of cutting, the intervention leads to medical, psychological, social and economic consequences. The practice is, in every form, internationally recognized as a serious human rights violation and is still practiced worldwide: in 29 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in South, Southeast and Central Asia, as well as in Europe, the US and Canada. Particularly in Asia, the number of surgeries done by medical staff are increasing, leading to repeated calls for legal acquiescence - which clearly contradicts the WHO.


Boys own their own genitals, too

The trivializing term “circumcision” stands for the amputation of the foreskin of the penis, which involves the loss of approximately 50% of the entire penile skin - including the parts most sensitive to sexual stimulation - and irreversibly alters the natural physiology of the penis and its appearance. Possible psychological long-term effects are increasingly being documented. Total foreskin removal is medically avoidable except in very rare cases. A snug or non-retractile foreskin does not constitute a medical condition in children and adolescents if the boy has no painful obstruction, which is a rare condition. Usually, the opening becomes wider by the end of puberty. In instances of an actual medical condition, most cases can be treated non-invasively.


Suffering and trauma of intersex children due to genital surgery without their consent

One or two out of every 1000 children are born with "atypical" sexual characteristics. Time and again this has led to early genital operations to “assign” a gender, and to hormonal treatments before the capacity to consent. The affected persons often report feeling altered and resentful that their input was never sought out about their own sex. All German paediatric associations currently recommend delaying those measures to an age where the person affected is able to give informed consent.  At the international level, as well, the technical discussion is moving in this direction. However, physical integrity and self-determination must still be integrated into practice in many places. For 20 years, the people affected have been publicly protesting these surgeries, which they describe in terms of fundamental human rights violations, as being traumatising and as destructive to sexual sensation. These are allegations that are also backed by human rights committees like the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC).


Discrimination against transsexual people

Trans* people often want to match their physical characteristics to their true gender by surgery. If a vulva is to be formed from a penis without the foreskin, ideal tissue is missing to a considerable extent.


The Cologne Ruling

On May 7th, 2012, the Regional Court of Cologne ruled that a non-therapeutic "circumcision" of a boy who is unable to give consent qualifies as an assault. This was widely misinterpreted by many to be a "ban" when in fact it was logically consistent with the law that, in Germany, all children have rights to an unharmed body and a non-violent upbringing – so why should these rights exclude genitalia, and exclusively male ones at that? However, in a rushed response to the Cologne ruling, the German Bundestag decided on 12.12.2012  that parents can assent for any reason to a "circumcision" of their boys  by codifying the practice into law. This is a complete contradiction to the full legal protection of children and is discordant with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in multiple ways.

Our info-page can be found HERE. It contains onward links to specific literature from Germany, Turkey, the USA and other countries; case histories of affected people; films; educational books and brochures; and videos from speeches by international scientists.


There is no room for hatred and misanthropy!
We urge all participants to clearly distance themselves from generalizations and animosity and to be absolutely clear that this is solely about the well-being, bodily integrity, and right to self-determination of children.