Sexual diversity in spotlight

Author, activist and professor Beverly Greene.

A leading expert and figure in the psychology of sexual identity and diversity will bring a free public lecture to the University of Indianapolis on Thursday.

Professor and activist Beverly Greene specializes in studying the roles that oppression, marginalization and privilege play in identity issues.

"[G]rowing up we were free to question a lot of things, and we weren't given this message that there are these fixed things in the world that always are and you always have to think this way, or people are always this or always that, but that people are complicated," Greene told interviewer Max Chewinski in Psychology's Feminist Voices Multimedia Internet Archive.

This background, Chewinski observed, formed a "critical view of human behavior" resulting in Greene's attraction to absorbing "narratives about how people became who they are" as well as "what they do with that information" and using psychology to frame these narratives and "using feminism within psychology to broaden that lens".

Greene teaches psychology at St. John’s University and practices clinical psychologist in New York City. The award-winning author has written nearly 100 books and articles covering topics such as religion, social marginalization and same-sex marriage and the legacies of racism and sexism in the lives of black mothers and daughters.

“Greene is a huge literary figure in psychology and activism,” said Ekta Kumar, a fourth year doctoral student in psychology at UIndy. She helped organize the lecture and invite Greene to the university.

“We were amazed she’d come out to Indianapolis from New York for us,” Kumar said. Greene will discuss “What Difference Does Difference Make?” in a talk scheduled from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. on Oct. 6 in UIndy’s Schwitzer Student Center Hall A. A reception with refreshments will follow.

Kumar said that students are often reluctant to discuss diversity and don’t think it’s still a prevalent subject but Greene will be addressing that topic in depth.

“She will be giving a general talk of why it’s important to talk about differences between one another and social privilege.” Kumar said.

The lecture precedes a continuing education workshop, “Intersections of Identities in Psychotherapy; Ethical & Clinical Challenges in Addressing Sexuality and Religious/Spiritual Beliefs in Psychotherapy,” from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 7 at UIndy’s Schwitzer Student Center.

In addition to her lecture, Green will present at the workshop.

The workshop is focused toward clinical psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers and; graduate students, but anyone interested in the research topics is welcome.

Greene has received 27 national awards for her publications and contributions to the field, including the American Psychological Association’s 2009 Senior Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest. In addition to her many awards, she also received APA’s Laura Brown Award for "outstanding contributions in advancing lesbian and bisexual women’s psychology in the areas of scholarship, teaching, practice, and/or activism in 2010."

Her visit is funded and presented by the Katharine Ratliff Memorial Conference on Ethics, Values and Human Responsibility and co-sponsored by UIndy’s School of Psychological Sciences and the campus chapter of Active Minds.

The registration deadline for the workshop is October 4. Registration may be available at the door as well if space permits for an additional $25 fee. Lunch will be available as well.

Call (317) 788-6134 for additional information about the events and to register for the workshop.