Episode 108

108 — Genspect Vision: The Bigger Picture with Joe Burgo & Alasdair Gunn

Published on: 31st March, 2023

In this episode, Stella & Sasha talk with Joe Burgo and Alasdair Gunn about the Genspect’s new direction and the upcoming first-ever live event. As you will hear them discuss, the Genspect Conference, themed “The Bigger Picture,” will bring together experts from many fields holding a myriad of perspectives: eminent scientists, researchers, lawyers, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, sociologists, educators, feminists, and some well-known detransitioners.

Guest Joe Burgo is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst who’s been in practice for almost 40 years. He’s particularly interested in the concept of narcissism and shame. He’s also a really big part of the BeyondTrans project through Genspect, and the author of several books, including The Narcissist You Know: Defending Yourself Against Extreme Narcissists in an All-About-Me Age.

Guest Alasdair Gunn was working in academia when he became interested in gender issues. After coming into contact with a group of parents of trans-identified boys, he wrote a series of Quillette articles on the topic under the pseudonym Angus Fox. As a gay man who tackled body dysmorphia in adolescence, Alasdair brings a unique understanding of issues related to teenage male development. His work in gender has focused mostly on design, marketing, research, and communications in support of Genspect. Recently diagnosed with a terminal illness, Alasdair has stepped back from day-to-day work and is keen to highlight the ways in which gender healthcare falls short of the normal standards of excellence we’ve come to expect from the medical industry.

Stella, Sasha, Joe, and Alasdair explain how the Genspect conference is intentionally being conducted during the same week, and just down the street from the WPATH/EPATH conference. The goal is to provide attendees to both conferences exposure to human stories beyond the medical context of transition and challenge the evidence base for gender medicine.

There’s so much enthusiasm about the speakers lined up to contribute to the event’s agenda. Together, Joe, Alasdair, Sasha & Stella explore the roster of presenters and reflect that many of them are previous guests of Gender: A Wider Lens Podcast. They also announce plans for the first-ever Wider Lens live-stream event scheduled to take place from inside the conference.

With so much important and valuable information relevant to so many aspects of gender transition (not just the medical component), the Genspect Conference is setting the stage for a really pivotal moment in time in pursuit of capturing gender from a wider lens, aka “The Bigger Picture.” This conversation is a charming preview of what attendees can expect from The Bigger Picture event, scheduled for late April.


More about Joe Burgo:


Alasdair’s Substack:


Attend/Stream Genspect Conference: The Bigger Picture


Beyond WPATH Document (add your signature)


Eliza Mondegreen on WPATH:


Cynical Therapies: 


What your Teen is Trying to Tell You, by Stella O’Malley: 


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

“20 — Gender Dysphoria in Boys: Part 1”


“21 — Gender Dysphoria in Boys: Part 2 — A Conversation with Angus Fox”


“73 — Shame, Narcissism, and the Transition Fantasy with Joe Burgo”


“94 — WPATH’s Bizarre 8th Standards of Care”


GWL Genspect Conference Speakers Playlist (a compilation of previous Gender: A Wider Lens episodes featuring guests who are also speakers at the 2023 Genspect Conference)


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

  • Stella and Sasha introduce the many works of Joe and Alasdair.
  • The Genspect Conference will be in the same area as the WPATH/EPATH Conference during the same week.
  • WPATH has discredited itself to the point that a debate is badly needed. Now is the time to speak up.
  • Sasha points out the importance of looking at gender through a wider lens.
  • WPATH advocates for the affirmative care model.
  • Helen Joyce will open the conference because she deserves her voice to be heard.
  • The group highlights the scheduled conference participants and their qualifications.
  • People’s response to the Genspect Conference has been extremely positive.
  • Alasdair will have a debate about pronouns at the conference.
  • During the conference, Alasdair and Joe will be discussing masculinity.
  • Joe will present his view and clinical material on Autogynephilia and a joint presentation with Lisa Marchiano.
  • There will also be a live stream for those who cannot attend.
  • Presenters are welcome to bring and promote their books at the conference.


“There are a lot of layers to gender and that is what we are trying to get a bigger picture of.” — Stella [5:30]

“Part of the problem has been that WPATH has been advocating for the affirmative care model which puts people like Stella and me out of business basically. That's what they want.” — Joe Burgo [17:01]

“This is abnormal. This is not the way normal health care works. Every other field of medicine works with a collaboration of other fields, not this kind of fiefdom attitude.” — Alasdair [38:55]

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.