Episode 106

106 — Detransition Awareness: Beyond Identity & Political Narratives

Published on: 17th March, 2023

This episode is dedicated to spreading awareness about the existence and experience of detransitioners — those who pursued a medicalized gender transition and later came to feel it wasn’t the right path for them. The detransitioner community is growing faster than ever as more young people realize they received inadequate and inappropriate healthcare.

The complex experience of detransition is not at all captured by the political identity being defined in the public discourse on the topic, and the real hardships involved seem to be entirely lost as an openly acknowledged possible outcome of the medical transition pathway, a primary outcome of the gender affirming model of care.

You will hear Sasha and Stella talk about how the detransition process is often a reckoning with reality. They speak about their experience working with detrans individuals and how it’s not as simple as “landing on detransition marks the end of a medical process or experience.” It is more of the beginning of a massive psychological process. It is not always a straight line with a clear destination. And it certainly involves a complicated and unique experience for each person. There are so many unknowns, particularly about the long-term medical implications in the aftermath of transition, so we’re learning as we go, seeking to better understand, empower and support the experience for detransitioners as well as others experiencing distress beyond transition.

In this conversation, you will also hear Stella and Sasha share about the launch of BeyondTrans.org. A new project of Genspect’s dedicated to meeting the specific needs of detransitioners, as well as those who are in a more uncertain space. Some people feel distressed about their transition. Many others feel more ambivalent. Some detransition. Others may not physically detransition, but their minds have detransitioned: they’ve moved on from an ideology that led them to believe they could become another person, and they’ve come to realize that this ideology can cause harm. Beyond Transition was established to offer comprehensive help for the varying needs of different groups impacted by medicalized gender transition.


You don’t have to be Irish to be Irish — https://youtu.be/jAQl64syDTg

Beyond Transition Website — https://beyondtrans.org/

Book Cynical Therapieshttps://criticaltherapyantidote.org/new-book-2/

Breastfeeding Regret Paper — https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fgwh.2023.1073053/full

Pinned tweet — https://twitter.com/redrobin9000/status/1603678082426195969?s=20

Reddit detrans — https://www.reddit.com/r/detrans/

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters (an excerpt from There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery; © 1977 Portia Nelson)


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

Please visit http://www.widerlenspod.com to explore more content, access additional resources, or join our listener community.

To learn more about our sponsors, visit:



Extended Notes

  • BeyondTrans.org is a resource recently launched by Sasha and Stella for people researching aspects of their transition.
  • Sasha and Stella contributed two chapters to the new book Cynical Therapies: Perspectives on the Anti-Therapeutic Nature of Critical Social Justice by Val Thomas.
  • Stella defines the term detransition.
  • Most detransitioners have very different stories but similar stages and feelings.
  • The language used in the media about gender transition is often dramatic and negative.
  • Stella references the enlightening poem Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson.
  • Becoming politically invested in a person’s gender may lead them to forget who they are and what they want.
  • Therapy often begins with regrets about what was lost in the past.
  • There is real wisdom in the 12-step program of AA.
  • Sasha shares real-life examples of gender-affirming care that should be deeply considered.
  • Gender dysphoria ebbs and flows for many detransitioners.
  • Reaching out to a gender professional can be confusing and possibly detrimental. Stella's advice is to take things slow.


“It must be so challenging to still have to deal with your underlying hurts and difficulties.” — Sasha [20:34]

“None of us are ever at some fixed end-point of growth. We are all in process.” — Stella [27:21]

“We are all vulnerable to adopting a fantasy.” — Sasha [43:38]

Becoming politically invested in a person’s gender may lead them to forget who they are and what they want.

Next Episode All Episodes Previous Episode
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.

Thank you to our sponsors:
Genspect - an international organization which offers an alternative to WPATH. Providing a range of education, resources and supports to anyone impacted by gender distress, Genspect unites many different organizations globally, and gives voice to 1,000s of previously untold stories. For more info, visit genspect.org.

GETA - an association of therapists who believe that individuals experiencing gender related concerns ought to be treated using a whole person approach. GETA connects like minded clinicians, provides educational resources and trainings, and helps people with gender dysphoria find support. For more info, visit genderexploratory.com.
Support This Show

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

Profile picture for Sasha Ayad
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.