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22 April 2011

Richard Green (1936 – ) Part 2: academic, administrator

 Continued from Part 1.

Also in 1987 Green published The "Sissy Boy Syndrome" and the Development of Homosexuality.  The gender variant children whom he had studied in the 1970s having by then grown up, and Green was able to locate two-thirds of both the 'sissy' group and the control group.  He showed that ‘sissy’ boys who may be taken as early transgender boys actually mainly grew up to be gay, without transgender inclinations.  Only one was considering a sex change but was being put off by the difficulties.  Only one of the control group grew up to be bisexual.  No members of either group grew up to be transvestites.

In 1992 he published Sexual Science and the Law, a review of various sexual fields and their legal situation, mainly in the US, but also in the UK. In the chapter on intergenerational sexuality he wrote that the experience for the younger person was not uniformly negative, based on a literature review.  He later commented:
"Bruce Rind et al reached a similar conclusion from a more sophisticated meta-analysis and all hell broke loose. Fortunately for me, no one read my book.(quoted in Newman, 2009)"

In 1993 he was co-counsel for Elke Sommer in her successful libel suite against Zsa Zsa Gabor who had called Elke a has-been.

Since 1994 he has been Professor of Psychological Medicine, Imperial College, London, and research director at the Charing Cross Hospital Gender Identity Clinic, where he saw trans persons two days a week. His life partner Melissa Hines is a professor of psychology and director of the Behavioural Neuroendocrinology Research Unit at the City University of London.  He is also a lecturer in Criminology at the University of Cambridge, where he caused a stir by having his students read Thomas O'Carroll's book, Paedophilia: The Radical Case.

He was president of HBIGDA 1997-9. In 2002 he passed the editorship of the Archives of Sexual Behavior to Kenneth Zucker.

In 2002 Green questioned why pedophilia is classified as a mental disorder.

In 2004, Green was the sole defender of John Money in the BBC documentary, Dr Money and the boy with no penis, on the David Reimer case:
‘‘Based on what we knew at the time about how you become male or female or boy or girl, knowing the difficulties of creating a penis surgically, the decision that John Money made was the correct one. I would have made the same one’’ (Green, 2008).

He was one of the Charing Cross Hospital Gender Identity Clinic psychiatrists who brought a complaint to the General Medical Council that Russell Reid too easily accepted patients for hormone therapy and surgery.

In 2006 he was awarded the Magnus Hirschfeld Medal for Sexual Research.

In 2006, when HBIGDA changed its name to WPATH, Green objected that the change had not been put to a full-membership vote and achieved such a vote, but the name change was then voted for.

In 2008, after Alice Dreger had defended Michael Bailey's The Man who would be Queen, Green commented:
"Dreger's meticulously detailed and documented essay is on remarkedly even terrain ....  And who knows whether [Christine Jorgensen]'s life story was entirely factual? In 1952, how else was an ‘‘Ex-GI’’ to become a ‘‘Blond Beauty’’. Homosexuality was both a mental disorder and a crime. Transsexualism was neither. Was Christine’s autobiography a ‘‘fairy tale’’? .... Is the Board [of HBIGDA] aware that there are medical and psychiatric professionals, including a transsexual, who side with Bailey in this situation? ....  Conway, James, and McCloskey generated a fortune in publicity for Bailey’s book, attracting a moderate sized city of readers who otherwise would have never heard of it. (Lighten Up, 2008)"

In 2010 he criticized Ray Blanchard's proposal to introduce hebephilia as a mental disorder in the DSM-5.

In 2011, the Irish annulment case, B (formerly known as M) v. L, cited a diagnosis by Green that the husband was autogynephilic.

Playwright Bruce Bierman was one of the "sissy boys" seen by Green for seven years in the 1970s, until his parents removed him from the program when he was 13. Later he read Green's 1987 book, and in 2004 turned his memories of the experience into a solo performance, "The Blue Dress", that he presented in San Francisco.

*Not the artist, nor the actor nor the cricketeer nor the chemist nor the footballer.
____________________________________________________________

The good:  like John Money, Richard Green pushed to permit transsexual operations at a time when the vast majority of psychiatrists were against such surgery, and like Money arranged for his institution to become a GIC.  He assisted Harry Benjamin and wrote approval letters for the patients who wanted surgery.  If things had gone differently, this could have rebounded against him later in his career.  He is one of very few sexologists to have written about male spouses of trans women.  He spoke up more than once for the rights of trans parents to continue their relationships with their children.  He appeared several times in court on behalf of trans women seeking to retain their jobs, and on behalf of the gay scout master (his one-time colleague Rekers testified in a different case on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America instead).  He questioned the stereotypes about pedophiles.  He was a major participant in removing adult homosexuality from the DSM.

On the other hand: He pioneered the Feminine Boy Project which has survived in the religious reparation therapy of NARTH and in Kenneth Zucker’s clinic at CAMH, although Green's conclusion that feminine boys merely grow up to become ordinary cis-homosexuals should invalidate the existence of reparative therapy.  Green originated the Archives of Sexual Behavior which has become the organ for the Freund-Blanchard-Bailey heresy.  While Green has many times spoken up for transsexuals against those who would deny surgery, and for employment and  parental rights, when it came to a conflict between his colleagues and trans academics after Bailey’s book was published, he sided with his colleagues – this is not surprising.  However when Russell Reid was under attack, he did not support him.

George Rekers later was a major person in the homophobic Family Research Council and NARTH, but resigned in 2010 after the press caught him on holiday with a rent boy.

The message of The "Sissy Boy Syndrome" and the Development of Homosexuality that the vast majority of ‘sissy boys’ are not pre-transsexuals seems obvious now, but it needed to be said to counter false assumptions.  It is good that autobiographies are now coming out by cis men who talk about their sissy childhood:  Olivier Theyskens, Bruce Bierman, Kevin Sessums (Mississippi Sissy).

The boys were turning 20 or so when Green found them again to write The "Sissy Boy Syndrome" and the Development of Homosexuality.   However some do not come out as gay or trans until middle age.  Now that almost another 25 years have passed, is it time for another follow-up?

Would you have confidence in these psychiatrists to distinguish between a transkid and a ‘sissy boy’?  Do you feel that weak hand-eye co-ordination, playing with dolls, playing with girls identifies a transkid?   12 such boys had reparative therapy.  There is no mention that any of the boys in either group had therapy to counter tendencies to bullying or homophobia.   Why is being nice a failure of socialization, but bullying is not?

How come the Richard Green Wikipedia page makes no mention at all of the Feminine Boy Project?  There is no Wikipedia page at all for the Feminine Boy Project.  The New York Times obituary of Ivar Lovaas somehow forgot to mention the Project, and when Phyllis Burke interviewed Lovaas for her book (p46-51) he was apparently trying to disremember his involvement.  Stony Brook is keeping quiet about its involvement.

If you do read The "Sissy Boy Syndrome" and the Development of Homosexuality, I suggest that you also read Phyllis Burke's Gender Shock.  In fact I recommend Burke's book by itself.


Given that Green compiled the Bibliography for Benjamin’s book, one now understands why the books and articles in the text are not in the bibliography, and the books and articles in the bibliography are not mentioned in the text.  And also that all Green's publications up to 1966 are in the bibliography.

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