Richard Green threatens to sue WPATH over the recent change of name:


by Lynn Conway


During recent months, the old guard in HBIGDA mounted an attack on the new leadership of WPATH regarding the recent change in the associationís name. This reached a climax on February 6, 2008 when Richard Green threatened WPATH with a lawsuit if they didnít stop the balloting to confirm the change of name (see below).


As with past threats of lawsuits (such as those against transpeople by Zucker et al at CAMH), many saw Green's actions as intimidation and worse, and it seems unlikely he'll get his way by making such threats.


For some thoughts along those lines, see the comments below by Christine Burns, MBE and former Vice-President of PFC.


Meantime, WPATH's e-mail server is alive with messages about this issue - including a message Femke Olyslager forwarded to members from me, regarding how Dr. Benjamin might have reacted to these events:




WPATH Website   |   Member Login
February 6, 2008  

As a Founding Director and Past President of our Association, I have previously expressed my concerns about the current directors' actions to change our name.  I write now with a troubling discovery that highlights the Association's actions in attempting to push through an unauthorized name change. 

I am in possession of a document from the State of Texas where we are incorporated.  It is a name change dated August 8, 2006, signed by an Association officer "under penalties imposed by law for the submission of a materially false or fraudulent document".  The Association officer states that the name change was "approved in the manner required by...the governing documents of the entity (our Association)". However, our governing documents require a vote by the membership. In 2006, no vote was taken. 

Further, the curent ballot procedure does not conform to the Bylaws requirement for our ballot: "All votes taken by the membership shall be conducted by mailing ballots to the members..." Although the Bylaws state that there can can be either mail or e-mail notice to Directors of any special meeting, there is no provision for e-mail balloting by the membership. There is at least one Association member who does not have e-mail and so did not receive a ballot.  Additionally, there is at least one member who joined early this year who has not received a ballot.  We do not know how many members have been denied their right to vote. 

Revelations regarding the history of the Association name change are troubling.  The one-sided presentation on the ballot of the arguments for a name change is troubling.  The manner of voting is troubling.

A legal complaint has been prepared by an attorney for court filing challenging the current ballot.  A court action is very expensive for the Association to defend.  It is also divisive.  This can be avoided by cancelling the curent ballot.

There is considerable sentiment among members to stop the voting and discard the ballots.  We need a reasoned discussion on what name change, if any, should be implemented in a future ballot.  There is sentiment for a compromise incorporating both Harry Benjamin and WPATH.

In the spirit of dialogue and reconciliation, as well as concern for Association finances, the best interests of our Association would be served by nullifying the present voting.  The Association waited two years for this vote, it can wait a little longer.  Many of us hope that the Association officers will agree.

Respectfully, Richard Green MD JD






From: Christine Burns

To: 'Lynn Conway' 

Sent: Friday, February 08, 2008 3:55 PM

Subject: WPATH-ology


Dear Lynn

Tongue firmly in cheek, I can only reflect that the clear message in Richard Greenís broodingly menacing choice of words is that (to use his own turn of phrase) he is ďtroubledĒ.

Itís a rather poor reflection on the state of the gender profession when a former leading light, who is definitely past his use-by date, thinks itís appropriate to START a debate by issuing legal proceedings.

WPATH evidently has an online forum for discussion and, in an age when email is ubiquitous, it is utterly disingenuous for Green to claim that professionals might be disenfranchised through not being online. Poor loves. They could always go to the library if they canít afford the line rental.

If clinicians are nowadays not online then you can only conclude that theyíve chosen to live in seclusion from active debate. Being a professional and not being online is the modern day equivalent of living in a cave or boarding up your letterbox.

So whatís wrong with Green opening a debate in the normal way? Why the pre-emptive strike, with the clearly spelt-out message that financial harm will be incurred if his action is ignored? In other circumstances this would be characterised as making a demand with menaces. Itís a threat, in spite of his crude attempt to make such an accusation deniable.

There can be only one conclusion. Green knows that in a debate his view WOULD be ignored, or would certainly not prevail. And bullies become bullies through the rationalisation that force is the only strategy they have. Thatís why, ultimately, we have to pity them.

WPATH membership should stick to their guns. They should confirm the change of name. Then, if Green has any integrity at all, he should resign or be removed forthwith.

Christine Burns



LynnConway.comTS InformationTrans News Updates > Green's e-mail of 2-06-08