UCLA study tried to change children’s gender identity starting in the 1960s, say two educators

From The Orange County Register:  https://www.ocregister.com/2019/11/18/2-subjects-discuss-trauma-as-kids-involved-in-uclas-now-defunct-gender-identity-study/

By
November 18, 2019

Karl Bryant had no idea he was the main character in someone else’s book. He discovered his biography in the late 1980s while poking around a San Francisco bookstore.

Jarringly, the tome was titled, “The ‘Sissy Boy Syndrome’ and the Development of Homosexuality.” But it was the author’s name that caught Bryant’s attention: Richard Green, a psychiatrist who evaluated him for 15 years at UCLA’s Gender Identity Research Clinic.

“Sure enough, there I was,” Bryant said.

A UC Irvine seminar held Nov. 12 brought together Bryant and another subject of the clinic’s three-decade study. Sé Shay Sullivan and Bryant knew about each other but had never met in person.

Both call themselves “survivors” of what they consider harmful research that left them feeling shame and humiliation with each session.

Bryant, a professor of sociology and women’s studies at SUNY New Paltz University in New York, identifies as gay. Sullivan, a carpenter who teaches in the sociology department at Gavilan College in Gilroy, identifies as gender fluid. Both are now 57.

Eight years ago, Sullivan, who uses gender-neutral pronouns, requested files on their case from UCLA. Sullivan received a 68-page transcript of doctor-patient interviews that now seem misguided and insensitive.

Sullivan created a multimedia art exhibit of their time under a microscope, and this year began taking the show on the road – so far, to half a dozen colleges around California.

UCI students filed through a room to view the transcript, each page clipped to a long clothesline. “Dr. N” stands for Larry Newman, a psychiatrist who trained at UCLA from 1964 to 1969.

In the background, a slideshow flipped through photos of Sullivan as a child. An audio reading of the transcript, recorded by Sullivan and two friends, runs throughout.

Sullivan comes across as defiant, precocious, bored, defensive and, at times, resigned and conciliatory.

“How does it get decided who’s going to be a boy and who’s going to be a girl?” Newman asks.

“Well, we just want to be what we want to be,” the child responds.

But in other instances, Sullivan assures him that despite longing to be a boy, “When I grow up, I’ll change my mind.”

After the presentation, Bryant and Sullivan took questions from an audience of more than 100 in a standing-room-only lecture hall. Jeanne Scheper, associate professor of gender and sexuality studies, monitored the Q&A.

The symposium would give the guest speakers an opportunity to “turn the lens of critical analysis on the doctors who studied them, labeled their gender as pathology, and subjected them to forms of what we would now call reparative therapy,” Scheper said in her introduction.

Bryant said that as a boy he “exhibited behavior my parents were concerned about.”

“Somehow, they got hooked up with a young psychiatrist named Dr. Green,” he said. “I was about five. All I knew was that I started going to UCLA every other week.”

Continue reading at:  https://www.ocregister.com/2019/11/18/2-subjects-discuss-trauma-as-kids-involved-in-uclas-now-defunct-gender-identity-study/

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