Richard Green, a lawyer and psychiatrist who made a name for himself fighting for LGBTI rights, has died at 82.
He died of esophageal cancer at his home in London. His son, Adam Hines-Green, survives him.
Green spent decades of his life battling against LGBTI discrimination and oppression. Both his work as a lawyer and psychiatrist reflect the passion and resilience he possessed for this endeavor.
Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1936, he went on to study medicine at Johns Hopkins under John Money, a well-known sex and gender psychologist. When training as a psychiatrist at UCLA, he worked with gender identity expert Robert Stoller.
Two of his most well-known accomplishments happened a decade apart in 1962 and 1972.
In the first instance, Green successfully challenged Chester Morales’ deportation from the US. Morales, originally from Nicaragua, was being deported due to his homosexual identity.
Ten years later, he published a paper appealing to the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. According to LGBTI activist Peter Tatchell, people advised him this course of action would ruin his career.
One year later, he appealed again, and the APA removed homosexuality from the list.
Pioneering LGBTI paths
Green’s commitment to LGBTI rights was broad and far-reaching.
In his medical career, he also advocated for gender confirmation surgery. In the 1960s, he began seeing transgender patients with Harry Benjamin.
Beyond medicine, he also fought for marriage equality and the rights of LGBTI parents.
In 1974, he appeared on the US television show The Advocates, participarting in a debate on marriage equality. He also testified in numerous court cases as an expert witness for LGBTI parents look to adopt or get custody rights to children from previous relationships.
In court, he also a witness and champion in several discrimination cases.
As Tatchell writes, Green’s work risked his ‘reputation and career to advance the understanding and acceptance of sexual and gender minorities’. Because of his contributions, several crucial strides towards equality were made.