Paul Mason, Barrister and Children’s Commisioner, Tasmania.

It was with great sadness that we learnt that Paul Mason had died. We offer our deepest sympathy to Paul’s family.

The movement to protect children’s rights in all its aspects, including non-therapeutic male circumcision, has lost a great champion.

Along with a rigorous intellect Paul had a very compassionate nature. He will be sorely missed.

The video below of Paul is from a press conference held in London on 3rd September 2008. It was the first time I saw him in action. All I can say is thank you Paul.

 

One man’s story

I forgot about circumcision for many years and it was not until my late twenties and having found myself unemployed with lots of free time that I began researching this issue.

I am a British born Muslim who was circumcised as a child and I believe I was about 8 years old when it happened although I cannot be sure of the exact age. I remember going to the hospital with my father and elder brother and being given an injection in my buttocks and waking up to find ice cream on the side table.

I only began researching circumcision after a hunch around the age of 17 when studying for my A-levels at college. I came across Mothers against Circumcision and then found NORM-UK and realised I was not alone in my thoughts.

I forgot about circumcision for many years and it was not until my late twenties and having found myself unemployed with lots of free time that I began researching this issue. Soon enough I came across Intact America and Doctors Opposing Circumcision and many Facebook pages as well as YouTube videos. I then discovered that the skin tag on my penis was a result of my circumcision and that this was very much highlighted as one of the harmful complications of circumcision on the website Circumstitions.

I then began printing Intact America factsheets and sending text messages to friends. I began speaking to fathers and anyone who was expecting a baby boy and making visits to see the fathers, funding much of the work from my own pocket. I made visits to a couple of my siblings who were expected to circumcise their boys but sadly their circumcisions went ahead without me knowing and after I had given them the factsheets. I now do a lot of work online targeting parents and keeping a tab locally on who is having children and boys in particular.

On 7th September 2014 I joined the Bloodstained men at a demo outside the Gherkin and met Richard Duncker and Patrick Smyth for the first time although I had had online conversations with Richard previously.

Gherkin demo

My concerns are about America as well as globally and being here in the UK my focus is on the Muslim/Jewish community. My work continues and I will do as much as I can to educate and stop parents from circumcising their baby boys and I truly believe circumcision needs to be abolished.

Iris Fudge

Men Do Complain is supported by women and we are grateful to all who see that children’s rights to autonomy and freedom of religion should be equal for all regardless of gender, race or parental beliefs.

Iris Fudge one of MDC’s female supporters has attended many of our demonstrations; in the picture on the left she is at our “Happy anniversary” protest in August 2011.

Iris is consistently polite, forceful and informative in her interactions with the public.

Iris is interviewed by James Loewen. Click on the photo to watch the interview.

People do complain

Some enlightened people have been pointing out for a long time that circumcising children is a tragic mistake. The current wave of protest goes back several decades. More and more men are coming forward and protesting at what was done to them as children, when they could not make an informed choice about circumcision. The stigma attached to complaining about having been circumcised is diminishing thanks to some brave individuals, their courage and intelligence has ensured that men who do complain are now being taken seriously.

On the 15th of March 1986 Marilyn Milos founded the National Organization of Circumcision Information and Resource Centers. NOCIRC rapidly became a respected source of information on the subject of circumcision.

When Marilyn, working as a nurse, first saw and heard a circumcision she was horrified and asked the doctor if it was really necessary; she was told it wasn’t. Marilyn then started informing parents considering having their sons circumcised, of what she had seen and that the operation was not medically necessary. The hospital authorities reacted swiftly and Marilyn lost her job. Twenty five years on and Marilyn is still very active in the fight to end all medically unnecessary cutting of children’s genitals.

There are a great many people that have stood up for the rights of children in the matter of circumcision but one person has just had an anniversary that should be marked.

On December the 17th 1970 Van Lewis protested outside the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital in the U.S. that circumcision was a sex crime.

Van and his brother, who was taking pictures, were of course arrested. The police fogged the film in the camera so this photocopy from a newspaper is all that documents the events of December 1970.

Van Lewis may well be this movement’s Rosa Parks. In December 1955 Rosa Parks was the African American woman who when challenged by a bus driver to give up her seat for a white passenger, refused to move and became a catalyst for the Civil Rights movement in the U.S.

Some men say they don’t mind having been circumcised when they were children and other men do mind very much. What the advocates of circumcision have consistently failed to prove is that circumcision does no harm. The advocates of circumcision have also failed to prove that the circumcision of healthy babies does any good.

In the rush to promote circumcision as a preventative measure to control the AIDS epidemic it should not be forgotten that children are not sexually active and can therefore derive no immediate benefit from being circumcised. Circumcision can wait until the individual concerned can make an informed choice based on the evidence. So get active and stand up for the rights of children.

Van Lewis tells the story of his arrest and describes his own personal journey in this excellent fifteen minute interview.