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19 April 2011

Richard Green (1936 - 2019) Part 1: psychiatrist, lawyer.

Richard Green was raised in Brooklyn, NY. He earned an AB from Syracuse University in 1957, and an MD from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1961, where he was a student of John Money, who introduced him to gender variant children. Green had the idea of comparing the children to the recollections that adult transsexuals had of their own childhood. He published papers with John Money on such children.

Green did a psychiatric residency at the University of California at Los Angeles, Medical School 1962-4 with Robert Stoller. Money introduced Green to Harry Benjamin in 1964, and for two years he saw patients in Benjamin's New York office and wrote letters for them so that they could obtain surgery in Europe. He wrote the appendix on historical and cross-cultural aspects and the bibliography for Benjamin's book.

He did a further residency at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) 1965-6. Green spent 1966 in London and became friends with Yoko Ono, and part of his anatomy appears in her film, Bottoms.

He then returned to UCLA as a Professor of Psychiatry. In 1969 he co-edited the ground-breaking Transsexualism and Sex-Reassignment anthology with Money, with an Introduction by Harry Benjamin. The same year, with encouragement from Stoller, Green arranged the first transsexual operation at UCLA, only a year after Stoller had retracted his conclusions in the Agnes case.

In 1971 he became the founding editor of Archives of Sexual Behavior, after Stoller nominated him to the publisher, and stayed as editor for 30 years. He was significantly involved in the removal in 1973 of ‘homosexuality’ as a diagnosis in the DSM. In 1974 he published Sexual Identity Conflict in Children and Adults, with a forward by Robert Stoller, which draws anecdotally on the children and adults whom he had seen as a psychiatrist. This book is still one of the very few to discuss the male spouses of trans women.

From the dust Jacket of Sexual Science and the Law
During the 1970s Green, Ivar Lovaas and George Rekers (more) headed the "Feminine Boy Project" funded by NIMH to at least $1.5 million.  The basic study was a 15-year follow-up of 50 'feminine' boys matched with 50 other boys of comparable age. ethnicity and parental education.  Both groups were studied using parental questionnaires, interviews with the boys, psychological testing and observations of playroom activity.  There were follow-ups, usually at one-year intervals.The project was mainly located at UCLA and secondarily at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and also at the Roosevelt Institute in New York City, the Fuller Theological Seminary and the Logos Research Institute.  The last two institutions are Christian, and their principal researcher was Rekers, who was the major advocate that the boys should be not merely observed, but treated, that is persuaded or cajoled back to gender conformity.  Twelve pairs of parents consented that their son should enter such a course of treatment.
Green was the founding president of the International Academy of Sex Research in 1973 and a founding committee member of the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA) in 1979, and was a co-author of the first edition of the Standards of Care.

In 1978 he published a paper, which is still rather unique, to the effect that a parent changing sex has only a small effect on the children, and that there is no reason why the trans parent should not continue to see the children.

He testified as an expert witness for transsexuals who lost their jobs in transition: Smith v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co, 1978; Ashlie, aka Komarnicki v. Chester-Upland School District, 1979; Terry v. EEOC, 1980; Kirkpatrick v. Seligman and Latz, Inc, 1981; and most famously for Karen Ulane in Ulane v. Eastern Airlines, Inc, 1983. He was also co-counsel for Curran v. Mount Diablo Council of the Boy Scouts of America, 1981, where an assistant scoutmaster had been rejected for being gay. Green completed his JD from Yale University Law School in 1987.

Testifying for Ulane, Green defined a transsexual as:
"Transsexualism is a pervasive, severe and long-standing discontent, discomfort, belonging to the sex to which one was born.  It is accompanied by a long-standing wish for a variety of hormonal, surgical and civil procedures which would allow one to live in the sex role opposite to that to which one was born.  This long-term discontent, dysphoria, if you will, with being male or female, is not a product of some significant type of mental disorder" (Sexual Science and the Law p106).
He defined a transvestite less satisfactorily:
"A transvestite is an individual who is content being the sex to which he was born, does not wish to undergo sex-change surgery.  It is an individual whose primary gratification from cross-dressing or dressing in women's clothes is one of sexual arousal rather than a feeling of social comfort. (Ditto)"

Continued in Part 2.

1 comment:

  1. Dev wrote:

    Prof Green was a dinosaur when he was running Charing Cross GIC. He had this crazy notion that a woman should be stuck in the 1950s mould. When he told me I was dressed as a man because I had trousers on I asked him if he had the courage to tell that to his female colleagues. He went out of his way to try to pick an argument and to wind up patients. I appreciate there has to be a degree of questioning, but Dr James Barrett got much more information out of me in 30 minuteswith civilised and enteraining conversation than Richard Green did in 45 minutes. Whereas Dr Barrett was able to coax out of me my personality, taste in music, my employment history and social attitudes, all the Professor learned was that I don't give in to bullies and that I can take a load of crap before I break. His retirement didn't come a moment too soon.


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