Remembering Wayne Griffiths (1933-2017)
APRIL 2017: This month, we are honoring the life and work of Wayne Griffiths. We're pleased that Marilyn Milos, founder of the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers and a close friend of Wayne's – has offered to share her memories of this intactivist movement pioneer.
On March 17, 2017 foreskin restoration innovator and intactivist Wayne Griffiths, passed away from cancer. He was 83. Wayne’s friend and fellow intactivist Jim Bigelow reported to Marilyn Milos that he’d spoken with Wayne a few days before his death, and that he knew he did not have long to live but, thankfully, was not in pain.
“I first met Wayne,” Marilyn recounts, "in 1986 or ’87. I’d written a letter to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle in response to an article about circumcision and, in my letter, I mentioned the possibility of foreskin restoration. Shortly thereafter, Wayne wrote to me, telling me he was manually stretching his foreskin. He was only the second person I'd met who was doing that.
“Up to that point,” Marilyn continues, “men were going to doctors for surgical restoration and were actually required to see a psychiatrist before undergoing surgery. (On that subject, John Erickson, another colleague and early foreskin activist, commented, ‘It's not circumcised men who need to have their heads examined. It's the circumcisers!’)
“Wayne's letter was heartfelt and informative. As an engineer, he had created a device to put weight on the remnant foreskin tissue, so it would stretch. The weight consisted of two stainless steel balls soldered together by a short rod. The smaller ball was the one to which the remnant foreskin was taped, and the larger ball was the weight needed for the tissue to expand. Wayne’s letter was humorous, too! He mentioned that one day, as he was wearing the device in an elevator, the tape came unstuck. As he felt the weight beginning to slide down his pants leg, he turned around, bent over, and caught it before it hit the floor. ‘Funny things can happen anywhere,’ he joked.
“I was grateful for Wayne because, from the day we met, I began referring men to him.” (In the meantime, Marilyn published a pamphlet on restoration – with a statue of David on the cover.) “I knew the work was extremely important for men who were facing what had happened to them as a result of circumcision and wanted to reverse the effects. While gentle stretching is a tedious, time-consuming effort, every man who has succeeded in re-covering his glans experiences the benefits of the gliding mechanism of the foreskin and the restored sensitivity of the newly-protected glans.
“Wayne was one of the first men who had the courage to speak out about the harmful effects of circumcision, and about skin-stretching techniques for foreskin. He was patient and kind. After he co-founded the National Organization of Restoring Men (NORM), he helped thousands of men during the three decades of his work. He will be well remembered!”
Meet Wayne, and hear him talk about his circumcision as a human rights issue, circumcision damage, and the benefits of restoration. Thanks to James Loewen for this video. And thanks to Marilyn Milos for sharing her memories and her perspective.