Episode 103

Published on:

24th Feb 2023

103 — Follow the Gender-brick Road: from Bi to Pan to Trans

Many young people who first claim to be bisexual will later identify as pansexual and then trans. Sasha and Stella discuss this common but contemporary pathway to trans identification and analyze why this might be happening and what it could mean subconsciously. They offer parents some ideas for how to engage their child during this time of exploration.

Sasha and Stella both have parent coaching membership sites that offer an expansive catalog of resources curated to support and empower parents of gender-questioning teens and young adults. Depending on the membership level, you have access to full-length in-depth topic videos, articles, book recommendations, and live Q&A sessions.


Sasha Ayad’s Parent Coaching Membership Group (SubscribeStar)


Stella O’Malley’s Parent Coaching Membership Group (Substack)


Sasha & Stella’s Conversation with Helena:

Helena Part I: Social Justice, Fandoms & FTM Gay Boys


Helena Part II: Advice for Parents from a Former Trans Kid


Sasha & Stella's Conversation w/ Lisa Duval:


Upcoming GETA Webinars


Albert Ellis’s REPT philosophies, and The Three Basic Musts


If you liked this episode, more episodes you might find interesting:

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Extended Notes

  • Stella and Sasha discuss the book and the writing process.
  • The correlation between eating disorders and gender dysphoria.
  • Children test the waters of gender identity as they sexualize.
  • Sasha and Stella attempt to define terms related to sexual and gender identity.
  • Children can feel overwhelmed by the pressure to decide on a sexual identity label.
  • Is the gender identity conversation the latest fad for children to help them individuate and separate?
  • Non-binary and asexual can be identities some children use to protect themselves.
  • Stella and Sasha hit on how parental boundaries have changed with the mass acceptance of multiple gender identities.
  • Boundaries and limits offer stability in life and stability is important.
  • Sasha offers a phrase for parents to use when children voice their gender choices.


“Eating disorders have a lot of similarities to gender dysphoria in that they desexualize the body.” — Sasha [7:11]

“Calling yourself asexual kind of gets you this freedom to opt out of the

entire game.” — Sasha [22:55]

“For some kids, gender dysphoria is a proud label they wear. For other kids it is very painful.” —

Sasha [29:09]

“Kids want to push against something and they have nothing to push against.” — Stella [40:40]

Show artwork for Gender: A Wider Lens Podcast

About the Podcast

Gender: A Wider Lens Podcast
Two therapists explore the expanding concept of "gender" from a psychological depth perspective.
Gender dysphoria has become a minefield for public discussion, with many afraid to express their views or question the narrative. Our mission is to examine this important and complex topic from a range of perspectives, but always through a psychological lens. By openly considering and examining gender identity, transition, and the transgender umbrella, we hope to give all interested parties permission to engage these fascinating topics with less fear and more honesty. Interviews and discussions will involve clinicians, medical professionals, academics, transgender people, parents, detransitioners and other interesting individuals whose lives have been touched by the concept of gender.

Conversations between two practicing therapists give listeners an opportunity to contemplate gender from a depth perspective not currently taken up in most of today’s accessible debates. As a result of their work with gender dysphoric therapy clients as well as their personal divergent experiences with gender, Stella and Sasha hold a refreshing and informed perspective.

Is gender identity a facilitation of development and expression of creativity, or can it be a defense against painful existential realities of living in a human body? What can we discover about masculinity, femininity, identity, gender performance, and sexuality when we peer beneath the surface and dive into a deeper psychological exploration? What is the relationship between body, mind, identity, culture, and psyche?

This podcast engages listeners in an intimate and fascinating behind-the-scenes inquiry about a topic as taboo as it is salient today.

* We are sponsored by ReIME and Genspect.
Rethink Identity Medicine Ethics (ReIME) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving long term care for gender variant individuals. To learn more, visit https://rethinkime.org/

Genspect is an international alliance of parent and professional groups whose aim is to advocate for parents of gender-questioning children and young people. Parents are concerned that their kids are not receiving appropriate treatment and support; many do not feel free to speak out about their concerns.
To learn more, visit https://genspect.org/
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About your hosts

Stella O'Malley

Profile picture for Stella O'Malley
Stella O’Malley is a psychotherapist and author who works in private practice in Ireland. Her work focuses on parenting, family dynamics and working with teenagers.

Much of Stella’s counselling and writing focuses on mental health and the importance of well-being and she is a regular contributor to the media. She is also the resident psychotherapist for the current TV series, Raised by the Village, a family programme that helps troubled teenagers reconnect with themselves and their families.

Stella's first book, Cotton Wool Kids, was released in 2015 while Bully-Proof Kids: Practical tools to help kids grow up confident, resilient and strong was released in 2017. Stella’s latest book Fragile, was released in 2019 and focuses on overcoming anxiety and stress.

Stella was the presenter of the documentary Trans - Kids: It’s Time To Talk broadcast on Channel 4 in November 2018 and she contributed a chapter to the 2019 book, Inventing Transgender Children and Young People.

The Jungian analyst, Lisa Marchiano, and Stella launched Secrets of the Motherworld in September 2019, offering thoughtful exploration of the most intimate aspects of motherhood in a bid to help mothers feel less alone.

Stella is a Clinical Advisor for the Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine and a founding member of the International Association of Therapists for Desisters and Detransitioners. She is also the lead facilitator for the Gender Dysphoria Support Network.

Stella holds a B.A. in Counselling and Psychotherapy and a M.A. in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Sasha Ayad

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Sasha Ayad is a Licensed Professional Counselor who works in private practice, and has treated adolescents for over 10 years. Her work focuses on teens and young adults struggling with issues of gender dysphoria and gender identity.

She became interested in the sharp rise in teenagers who declare a trans identity for the first time during adolescence. She discovered, through working with hundreds of families, that many teens were developing gender dysphoria only after adopting a transgender identity. She questions the practice of medical transition for children and teenagers, and her clinical work focuses on developmentally appropriate, least-invasive-first talk therapy.

Sasha is also a founding member and Clinical Advisor in the Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine and a founding member of the International Association of Therapists for Desisters and Detransitioners.

Sasha’s previous work experience includes:
- School counselor for middle and high school students at a charter school for underserved communities

- Behavioral therapy with children on the autism spectrum

- Individual and group counseling for women and children impacted by domestic abuse and sexual violence

- Developed and ran the first counseling program at a large state supported living facility for adults with intellectual disability

Sasha holds a B.S. in Psychology and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology.