Dr. Richard Green, 82, Dies; Challenged Psychiatry’s View of Homosexuality – Smart Media Magazine

Dr. Richard Green, 82, Dies; Challenged Psychiatry’s View of Homosexuality


In 1962, he testified for a Nicaraguan man whom immigration officials had moved to deport because he was gay. The plaintiff prevailed and became a United States resident. Dr. Green also testified on behalf of a transgender woman who was suing to keep her job as a pilot, and a transgender parent who was suing for child visitation.

After completing a law degree at Yale in his 50s, Dr. Green, as a volunteer lawyer, joined a 1990 case by the American Civil Liberties Union in California against the Boy Scouts of America for barring a gay man from becoming an assistant scoutmaster. The Boy Scouts won, although the organization would lift its ban on openly gay leaders in 2015.

“Imagine taking on the Boy Scouts,” said Dr. Jules Black, an obstetrician-gynecologist, who was a founder of the Society of Australian Sexologists and a friend of Dr. Green’s. “He had the smarts and nerve to take on his colleagues, the psychiatric establishment, and these huge issues like decriminalizing sexuality; that was enormous. He didn’t do it alone, but he was right in the middle of it.”

Richard Philip Green was born on June 6, 1936, in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the only child of Leo and Rose (Ingber) Green. His father was an accountant, his mother a teacher.

After graduating from high school, he attended Syracuse University on a state scholarship and got his medical degree from Johns Hopkins in 1961. He specialized in psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he became a professor and researcher. In 1986 he met Melissa Hines, who was on the academic staff there, and the two married. They divorced in 2014.

In addition to his son, Dr. Green is survived by his companion, Claire Loveday.

In his early work, Dr. Green found that many effeminate boys grow up to be gay. He reviewed that and other research in his 1987 book, “The ‘Sissy Boy Syndrome’ and the Development of Homosexuality.”



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