GALDEF receives first grant request; searches for more plaintiffs; launches Go Fund Me campaign

[UPDATE June 15, 2024: Thanks to your generosity, GALDEF surpassed our goal in the campaign, raising $11,585. Funds helped a courageous plaintiff with the cost of obtaining his medical transcripts and to pay for two written expert reports from a respected pediatrician and a sex therapist. We were also able to cover all of our costs for a presence at four Pride events: Los Angeles/CA, Portland/OR, Silicon Valley-San Jose/CA, and Palm Springs/CA.]

If you could sue the medical personnel who circumcised you without your consent, would you? This is no longer a theoretical question as a young gay man has stepped forward to do exactly that. He has applied to GALDEF for $5,000 in financial assistance with his case to help cover the cost of an expert witness report and other related legal expenses. We have launched a new Go Fund Me campaign to raise the funds needed by this courageous plaintiff by May 1, 2024.

The plaintiff, who prefers to remain anonymous for the time being in view of the sensitivity of his active litigation, was born in 2000. Shortly after his birth, like millions of male newborns each year, he was subjected to non-therapeutic circumcision. In 2021 he initiated a claim against the hospital and the physician based on the well-founded assertion that the surgery was not only unnecessary and damaging, but that his parents had also not been adequately informed before they consented to the intervention.

After contacting over two dozen attorneys in his area, he could find no one willing to take the risks involved in bringing such a complex and unprecedented case before the courts. He has therefore been conducting his case pro se, meaning that he is representing himself.

The young man, who happens to be gay, says “LGBTQ people are, by and large, part of a justice-sensitive community who understand how medicine and religion have historically sought to control our bodies and our sexuality. Childhood genital cutting customs violate the basic human right to bodily integrity and autonomy. It deprives vulnerable infants of the open future that they would otherwise have if they were kept intact. When it comes to deciding how much of one’s genitals that they get to keep, clearly it should be the person who must live with the permanent consequences!”

In a scandalous turn of events, the defendants in the case launched a third-party claim against his parents for consenting to the procedure.  According to the plaintiff, “The third-party claim against my parents was intended to intimidate me. It was a heavy-handed attempt to stifle my action by exploiting a vulnerability in my situation, as it put pressure on the already-strained relationship between me and my parents; however, it didn’t shut me up. It hasn’t deterred me from seeking justice and advocating for the fair and consistent application of the law to protect bodily autonomy.”

According to GALDEF founder Tim Hammond, “While we would normally only support a plaintiff who had legal representation, this exceptional young man has proven to us that he knows the medical, ethical and legal literature better than the defendants in this case. We are pleased to offer our unflagging support in his pursuit of righting a wrong that was perpetrated against him and to establish a precedent for others.” Hammond acknowledges that the case represents a Herculean struggle with the dominant medical establishment and that there is no guarantee of victory, but he remains confident that the plaintiff’s tenacity and the concerted generosity and support of donors will help to win the case.

In a related effort to expand our outreach for our Plaintiff Search in the anticipated Equal Protection lawsuit, GALDEF has applied for Pride exhibit booths in three California cities (Los Angeles, Palm Springs and Silicon Valley) and two cities in Oregon (Portland and Salem). The application fees for the five booths amount to almost $5,000 and GALDEF will use these opportunities to educate Pride festival attendees about the current lack of legal protection for the bodily integrity of those born with a penis (cisgender males and transgender females) and those born with ambiguous genitalia (intersex persons). The deadline for raising these funds is also May 1, 2024. [Deadline extended to June 15, 2024]

Please consider donating to support both of these efforts through our current Go Fund Me. As always, your donations to GALDEF are tax-deductible.

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