Christopher Price Obituary by Steven Svoboda

Christopher P. Price (c. 1946-2005)

Longtime activist for genital integrity (and Attorneys for the Rights of the Child Board Member and Secretary) Chris Price passed away on February 6, 2005, at 6.10am, after a single lung transplant had been performed four days earlier. His daughter Heulwen assures all his many friends that “he passed on after a brave struggle with all the problems that beset him. Mercifully, he was kept heavily sedated, paralysed and on painkillers throughout his battle, and so hopefully had no inkling of what was going on around him and to him.”

 

Although Chris and I only once spent a few days together in person (in Oxford at the NOCIRC Symposium in 1998), we were colleagues and friends for over a decade. We corresponded frequently and talked on the phone from time to time. I last spoke to him by phone on Boxing Day (December 26), 2004. Chris enthusiastically indicated his interest in continuing to serve with ARC. He never mentioned his health during this conversation.

 

Chris was a dear friend and I was shocked to receive the message from his daughter, much as I knew of his health problems over the years. He coauthored several inter-related articles with Greg Boyle and me, some of which thanks to Greg's enthusiastic efforts made some significant impact on opinions in Australia and elsewhere. Chris also wrote a magisterial yet idiosyncratic (a most unusual combination) submission to the UK Law Commission in 1996.

Chris was trained in the law yet preferred to discuss genital integrity on the most basic and human of levels. He struck me as a person for whom life was not easy. Few people fit the phrase “tortured soul” more than he does, and no doubt circumcision was one of the issues that caused his torment. Yet he delved in and grappled hand-to-hand with this issue for many years, making invaluable contributions to the field. He was a prolific correspondent by email, answering points large and small, punctiliously changing subject lines as many times as he felt were needed to keep matters in hand.

 

Many people cared deeply for Chris Price. I wish I had had more time with him. When I think of Chris, I remember the intensity of his emotions, and how easily ignitable his passions were. I remember him being outraged more than once by positions put forth by certain speakers in Oxford, and he was not afraid to let everyone within earshot (or in some cases, everyone attending the symposium) know his views. And yet his capacity for love and empathy also seemed to me greater than usual, though I am not sure he himself was aware of this. I regret that I never got to say goodbye to him, and I dearly regret that I cannot change some of the tears that have been welling up ever since I heard the news for one more chance to hear his voice.

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