We live in a complex, layered and sometimes confusing world. Prior to the internet, many people lived within their small bubbles, however, since going online we've become exposed to how truly diverse the human race can be. One prime example of this comes from the nullo subculture of extreme body modification. Haven't heard of nullos before today? Well, strap into your seats because you're in for a wild ride here on out.
Last week, we published an article that went into visual detail about a man named Adam Curlykale who had his genitals removed. Now, let's make this clear from the start. All of this surgery was voluntary and there was nothing wrong with his genitals to permit them being removed.
Instead, Curlykale identifies as nullo—a category of extreme modification primarily made up of cisgender men who have their genitals (and sometimes nipples and bellybuttons) surgically removed.
It's important to make distinctions about nullos and their gender orientation. For the most part, nullos identify as cisgender and their goal in removing their male genitalia is not to obtain a vagina. Instead, they desire to be genderless and many identify as assexual.
Nullo first emerged online around the time the Body Modification Ezine was launched in 1994 by Shannon Larratt. BME was the first body modification website and became a forum for fellow mods to share their experiences. Since the mid 90s, self-identified nullos have published their experiences to the site—discussing their dysphoria within a nuanced online community.
"Well I am 20 years old and I have a very strong desire to become a nullo. Preferably a genital nullo, which means Removal of the genitals and relocation of the urethra. Leaving a smooth surface. some people refer to people who have genital nullo as "smoothies"! This desire started when I was a child and only progressed when I went into my teen years. I remember perfectly when I was about 8, how I would look at my penis and testicles and pretend there was nothing there. I never thought about cutting it off or a preferred term, surgical removal. Because at age 8, I just pretended that it wasn't there," shares an anonymous user on BME.
One of the biggest controversies to come from the nullo community is the D.I.Y approach that many nullos have taken in order to achieve their desired "smoothness." In a 2011 interview with Gawker, identified nullo Gelding explains the dangers with at home procedures, urging anyone who wants to have their genitals removed to consult a professional surgeon or go to the emergency room if it's too late
"Today, they have been exposed to a lot more of the literature out there than they were 20 years ago. They're not going to be institutionalized. I mean years ago they used to institutionalize guys that were gay."
While there are some personal testimonies about the nullo community, their presence has yet to be truly known or understood within the mainstream world. However, as our world and the medical field becomes more adapted to the gender revolution—we imagine that we'll be seeing much more of this group in the near future.
What do you think about nullos? Share your thoughts, opinions and questions on this topic in the comments section on Facebook.