Richard Pillard

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Richard Colestock Pillard (born 11 October 1933) is a professor of psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine. He was the first openly gay psychiatrist in the United States.[1]

Early life and family[edit]

Pillard was born in Springfield, Ohio, he briefly attended Swarthmore College before transferring to Antioch College, where his father Basil H. Pillard was an English Professor.[2] Pillard received his B.A. from Antioch.[3] He then earned his M.D. from University of Rochester, with his internship at Boston City Hospital.

Pillard married Vassar graduate Cornelia Livingston Cromwell in 1958, while he was in medical school, they later divorced when he was in his thirties, and Pillard now identifies as gay. He has three daughters; the oldest daughter, Victoria (Vicky) Pillard, is a pediatrician practicing in Holyoke, Massachusetts. His second daughter, Cornelia T. L. (Nina) Pillard, is a circuit judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and formerly a Georgetown University Law Center professor and assistant to Attorney General Janet Reno. His youngest daughter, Elizabeth Jane (Eliza) Pillard, is a social worker specializing in child psychiatric issues in Vermont.

Chandler Burr reported that Pillard jokes "he is uniquely equipped to investigate whether homosexuality has a biological basis: he, his brother, and his sister are gay, and Pillard believes that his father may have been gay. One of Pillard's three daughters from a marriage early in life is bisexual; this family history seems to invite a biological explanation, and it made Pillard start thinking about the origins of sexual orientation."[4]

Heritability of sexual orientation[edit]

He and biologist James D. Weinrich co-authored a paper which found that homosexuality runs in some families.[5] Pillard feels this is some of his most significant work, and that paper won the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality Hugo Beigel Award for the best paper published in the Journal of Sex Research.[citation needed]

Pillard is also well known for a series of studies he coauthored with the psychologist J. Michael Bailey, which examined the rate of concordance of sexual identity among monozygotic twins, dizygotic twins of the same sex, non-twin siblings of the same sex, and adoptive siblings of the same sex. In all studies they found rates of concordance variantly consistent with the hypothesis that homosexuality has a significant genetic component; the Council for Responsible Genetics and other researchers have criticized this work for using a self-selected sample, a problem which later studies have attempted to remedy.[citation needed]


  • Lane HL, Pillard RC, Hedberg U (2011). The People of the Eye: Deaf Ethnicity and Ancestry. Oxford University Press US, ISBN 978-0-19-975929-3
  • Dawood K, Pillard RC, Horvath C, Revelle W, Bailey JM (2000). Familial aspects of male homosexuality. Arch Sex Behav. 2000 Apr;29(2):155-63. PMID 10842723
  • Bailey JM, Pillard RC, Dawood K, Miller MB, Farrer LA, Trivedi S, Murphy RL (1999). A family history study of male sexual orientation using three independent samples. Behav Genet. 1999 Mar;29(2):79-86. doi:10.1023/A:1021652204405 PMID 10405456
  • Pillard RC, Bailey JM (1998). Human sexual orientation has a heritable component. Hum Biol. 1998 Apr;70(2):347-65. PMID 9549243
  • Pillard RC, Bailey JM (1995). A biologic perspective on sexual orientation. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 1995 Mar;18(1):71-84. PMID 7761309
  • Snyder PJ, Weinrich JD, Pillard RC (1994). Personality and lipid level differences associated with homosexual and bisexual identity in men. Arch Sex Behav. 1994 Aug;23(4):433-51. PMID 7993184
  • Pillard RC, Rosen LR, Meyer-Bahlburg H, Weinrich JD, Feldman JF, Gruen R, Ehrhardt AA (1993). Psychopathology and social functioning in men prenatally exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES). Psychosom Med. 1993 Nov-Dec;55(6):485-91. PMID 8310108
  • Bailey JM, Pillard RC, Neale MC, Agyei Y (1993). Heritable factors influence sexual orientation in women. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1993 Mar;50(3):217-23. PMID 8439243
  • Weinrich JD, Snyder PJ, Pillard RC, Grant I, Jacobson DL, Robinson SR, McCutchan JA (1993). A factor analysis of the Klein sexual orientation grid in two disparate samples. Arch Sex Behav. 1993 Apr;22(2):157-68. PMID 8476335
  • Bailey JM, Pillard RC (1991). A genetic study of male sexual orientation. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1991 Dec;48(12):1089-96. PMID 1845227
  • Tuttle GE, Pillard RC (1991). Sexual orientation and cognitive abilities. Arch Sex Behav. 1991 Jun;20(3):307-18. PMID 2059149
  • Pillard RC, Weinrich JD (1986). Evidence of familial nature of male homosexuality. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1986 Aug;43(8):808-12. PMID 3729676
  • Pillard RC, Poumadere J, Carretta RA (1982). A family study of sexual orientation. Arch Sex Behav. 1982 Dec;11(6):511-20. PMID 6760832
  • Pillard RC, Poumadere J, Carretta RA (1981). Is homosexuality familial? A review, some data, and a suggestion. Arch Sex Behav. 1981 Oct;10(5):465-75. PMID 7032464
  • Lane HL, Pillard RC (1978). The Wild Boy of Burundi: a study of an outcast child. Random House, ISBN 978-0-394-41252-8
  • Pillard RC, Fisher S (1975). Chlordiazepoxide and phenobarbital in a model anxiety-inducing situation. Compr Psychiatry. 1975 Jan-Feb;16(1):97-101. PMID 1109838
  • Pillard RC, McNair DM, Fisher S (1974). Does marijuana enhance experimentally induced anxiety? Psychopharmacologia. 1974;40(3):205-10. PMID 4445449
  • Pillard RC, Rose RM, Sherwood M (1974). Plasma testosterone levels in homosexual men. Arch Sex Behav. 1974 Sep;3(5):453-8. PMID 4415098
  • Pillard RC (1973). Shall we allow heroin maintenance? N Engl J Med. 1973 Mar 29;288(13):682-3. PMID 4687260
  • Pillard RC (1971). Authors and editors: mutual responsibility. Am J Psychiatry. 1971 Apr;127(10):1420-1. PMID 5549943
  • Meyer RE, Pillard RC, Shapiro LM, Mirin SM (1971). Administration of marijuana to heavy and casual marijuana users. Am J Psychiatry. 1971 Aug;128(2):198-204. PMID 4939591
  • Mirin SM, Shapiro LM, Meyer RE, Pillard RC, Fisher S (1971). Casual versus heavy use of marijuana: a redefinition of the marijuana problem. Am J Psychiatry. 1971 Mar;127(9):1134-40. PMID 5100604
  • Pillard RC (1970). Marihuana. N Engl J Med. 1970 Aug 6;283(6):294-303. Review. PMID 4913364
  • Pillard RC, Fisher S (1970). Aspects of anxiety in dental clinic patients. J Am Dent Assoc. 1970 Jun;80(6):1331-4. PMID 5266124
  • Pillard RC, Fisher S (1967).Effects of chlordiazepoxide and secobarbital on film-induced anxiety. Psychopharmacologia. 1967;12(1):18-23. PMID 6081323
  • McNair DM, Droppleman LF, Pillard RC (1967). Differential sensitivity of two palmar sweat measures. Psychophysiology. 1967 Jan;3(3):280-4. PMID 5341532
  • Globus GG, Pillard RC (1966). Tausk's Influencing Machine and Kafka's In the Penal Colony. Am Imago. 1966 Fall;23(3):191-207. PMID 5334128


  1. ^ Mass L (1990). Homophobia on the couch: A conversation with Richard Pillard, first openly gay psychiatrist in the United States. in Homosexuality and Sexuality: Dialogues of the Sexual Revolution—Volume I (Gay & Lesbian Studies). Haworth Press, ISBN 0918393892
  2. ^ Judson Jerome (Mar., 1958). Departure: Basil Pillard, 1895-1957. College English, Vol. 19, No. 6, Poetry and Professors Issue , p. 240
  3. ^ Paul E. Lynch (2003). An Interview with Richard C. Pillard, MD. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Psychotherapy Volume: 7 Issue: 4
  4. ^ Burr, Chandler (June 1997). Homosexuality and biology. The Atlantic Monthly
  5. ^ Talan, Jamie (August 19, 1986). Of Gays And Gay Siblings. Newsday