Say NO to MGM
The Conspiracy of Silence

I reflect today upon the irony of the conspiracy of silence within the medical profession which meant that the issue of whether or not my son ought to be circumcised following his birth 26 years ago did not arise. I did not know then what I know now about circumcision, but I knew that it was the exception rather than the rule that boys were circumcised in the UK, as I had grown up feeling very much the odd one out among my peers. I also felt no pride or satisfaction that I had been circumcised (at the behest of my mother apparently - a detail that I did not learn until a few years ago), and had always envied my intact contemporaries. I therefore did not feel for one moment that he should have part of his penis amputated. Accordingly, my son was left intact as nature formed him.

Perhaps if I had felt the inclination to ensure that he ought to be circumcised like me and pressed for this procedure I would have been made aware of the history of circumcision in the UK. I had already blundered through 29 years of my life by the time of his birth, in total ignorance of the controversy surrounding this issue, despite the fact that I did not request that I be circumcised as an infant and I could not possibly have consented to it. I would subsequently blunder through another 22 years of my life before I stumbled upon the sordid truth.

I consider it morally repugnant and a shameful reflection on the medical profession in the UK that I was not informed at any time of the divided opinion there is both within and without their ranks with regard to circumcision. It was one of their number who amputated a perfectly healthy and natural part of my genitals, and yet not one of those who subsequently attended to me in a professional capacity, and were clearly aware of my physical impairment, had the decency to enlighten me. So much for ethics!

I now see clearly that the attitude many adopt both within the medical profession and in other informed circles (read: religious) is to: “Let sleeping dogs lie”, or “The less said the better”, or “What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.”

Well I have news for those people who have been less than honest with me for all those years. This sleeping dog has now woken and be in no doubt that what I did not know has most definitely hurt me and I now intend to do whatever I can to help other men avoid the same hurt.

We Can Not Choose Our Parents

I recently wrote a letter to the German press in support of the Köln court decision which followed the heroic crusade by Prof. Dr. Holm Putzke to ban the practice of circumcision of non-consenting male minors. It was published in the Frankfurter Rundschau and was subsequently quoted by Prof. Putzke during a German TV debate hosted by Anne Will. The German version of my letter is posted on the Frankfurter Rundschau blog here: http://www.frblog.de/beschneidung/#comment-37687 and the Anne Will show can be viewed here: http://daserste.ndr.de/annewill/videos/annewill3507.html

The original English version of my letter reads as follows:

It is a sad fact that we are not able to choose our parents in this life. It is my personal belief that all infants, whether they be male or female, should enjoy the basic right to be born unto parents that do not feel it is their right to modify the genitalia of their offspring. My late parents felt that it was their right to condone my circumcision as an infant without medical necessity. This is something that has caused me considerable pain and anguish and I shall eternally regret. It should have been my own decision as to whether or not I chose to be circumcised as it is my body, and once it is done, it is done.

Children are in the custody of their parents until they reach maturity and are not their property. I would not have chosen to be the son of my parents if given the option. I am not Jewish or Muslim, but there are men I know of that were born into Jewish/Muslim families that also resent the fact that they suffered the same indignity of forced circumcision. The majority of men in this world are genitally intact and perfectly content with their status. I believe that there is a profound injustice that there is not formal legal protection for all infant boys against non-therapeutic circumcision (such as there is for girls), regardless of the religious zealotry of their parents.

I therefore rejoice in the recent landmark decision of the Köln court that the circumcision of non-consenting minors is to be banned and applaud the visionary and courageous efforts of Prof. Dr Holm Putzke on behalf of all those men who in the future can decide for themselves as adults.

Patrick Smyth

Cambridge UK

Male circumcision is a kindness (NOT)

Tried to post the following comment on the San Diego Jewish World website today but then noticed that the webmaster had closed the article to any further comments. I wonder why? Have a look and see if you can figure it out.

http://www.sdjewishworld.com/2012/05/18/male-circumcision-is-a-kindness-to-future-sexual-partners/

My proposed comment:

I was circumcised at birth and lived for many years in ignorance of the truth about circumcision and the effect it has insidiously imposed on my life. I am now aware that this is because of the the ‘you don’t miss what you never had’ effect. For many years I had difficulty masturbating until I discovered that a lubricant helped considerably. To recently discover (now that I am over 50 years of age) that one of the main reasons that circumcision became so prevalent in the US and UK (where I was born) was to discourage masturbation is a gross insult to my dignity and an abuse of my rights to enjoy the body that I was born with as I see fit. My quality of life has been seriously impaired by my circumciser, both before I discovered the truth and now even more so. The shine has been taken of what is left of my sex life in the knowledge that most of my contemporaries have hitherto enjoyed and will continue to enjoy a sex life that is as nature intended, whereas mine is not.