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Anti-circumcision ‘intactivist’ Jonathon Conte found dead, aged 34

By Fabio Crispim

Anti-circumcision campaigner Jonathon Conte was found dead by his partner, Christopher Holden, in their shared San Francisco apartment earlier this month (May 9).

Conte, who described himself as a “victim of male genital mutilation”, was an advocate for the ‘intactivist’ campaign against male circumcision and would often appear at LGBT pride riding his bicycle with signs reading “Got genital rights?” according to The Bay Area Reporter.

Since the death, Conte’s partner Christopher  has thanked well-wishers for their support, saying it “helps in a way, to know how many people cared for him.”

Conte posted a video to YouTube in 2011, talking about ho Upon finding out that he had been circumcised, Conte explained that 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.”

Holden described Conte as “really sweet” and “caring and vulnerable” but said he was also “very deliberate” and a methodical planner.

On the day of his death, Conte made Holden pancakes that morning which Holden thought was unusual but Conte “seemed fine.”

“He was saying goodbye,” Holden now realizes.

When Holden got home from work that evening, he wondered where Conte was before hearing “some soft music coming from the bedroom.”

He explains how he saw Cote’s feet and thought he was asleep, before rushing over and trying to perform CPR, but it was “too late.”


Holden says his boyfriend had never given any sign that he was planning on killing himself, but explained that he must have been planning it for “quite some time.”

“There was a side of him he kept very closely guarded,” he added.

Paul Tortora, who is an ally of the ‘intactivists’, has said Conte was “a lovely man, just one of those unusual people you meet once and you remember their smile for hours later.”

Tortora said he’s “heartbroken” and said, “I know how much he could have done, how much more he had ahead of him.”

A memorial is set for Conte on May 21.

If you’re concerned about your own mental health or that of someone else, call the Samaritans free and confidentially on 116 123, or visit for more information.

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