Episode 119

119 — Who Gets Embroiled in the Gender Debates

Published on: 23rd June, 2023

In this episode, Stella & Sasha explore the different kinds of ways people engage in the gender debates. You will hear them touch on the various kinds of characters and/or archetypes of people who imbed themselves deeply into the “gender world.” And you may also notice that there are many varieties of voices not referenced as well. Today’s episode takes shape a little differently than a typical Gender: A Wider Lens conversation in that they cover so many categories all at once, but at a very light level, and don’t have the opportunity to go too far in-depth into any of the concepts touched on. This discussion barely begins to scratch the surface of all there is to talk about here.

Upon reflection after recording, Sasha shares her sense of apprehension in releasing the episode at all, only to come to the conclusion that in fact, these ideas require much more expansive exploration, after all. Stella acknowledges that there’s no denying the vastly compelling nature of the subject of gender and digs into the tendency for some individuals to become overly fixated on gender-related topics.

This episode emphasizes that while engaging in gender debates can be important, it’s essential to assess one’s level of involvement with its alignment to service to oneself, one’s community, and one’s family in productive and healthy ways. Excessive preoccupation with gender can be distressing for some individuals who never intended to be consumed by it, so it’s important to seek balance, remain mindful, and sustain intellectual curiosity without neglecting emotional well-being.

In this episode, you will hear Sasha & Stella speak about “Killarney,” in reference to Genspect’s: The Bigger Picture conference. Please note this episode was recorded before the conference and was released after the events referenced in the episode took place. Please visit https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmsMIEB9bK5xhD6nXaseiC2qe-bm7go0q to view recordings from the conference.


Episode mentioned about the affirming parent:

Episode 109 — What If We Are All Wrong: A Mother’s Regret with Rose


A Catholic Response to Gender Identity Theory


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

Episode 9 — The Politicization of Gender


Episode 10 — Queer Theory: Subverting Life's Categories


Episode 31 — Silencing Thought: A Conversation with Heather Brunskell-Evans


Episode 72 — Disenchanted by Transition


Episode 84 — Denise Caignon from 4thWaveNow: The View from Behind the Scenes


Episode 97 — The Freedom to Believe or Not To w/ Rev. Bernard Randall


Episode 98 — StoicMom: Using her Child’s Trans Identity for Personal Individuation


Related Playlists:

  • Top Episodes for Therapists Working with Gender-Questioning Youth


  • Top Episodes for Parents of Gender-Questioning Kids


  • Conversations with Authors


  • Detransition and Desistance


  • Pioneer Series — Conversations with key figures in the history of gender distress, gender medicine, and gender transition.


  • Conversations about Medical Interventions & Gender — Episodes where we discuss the history, evidence base, modern debates, and emerging investigations around medical interventions for trans-identified children and adults.


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

Watch us on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/@widerlenspod

For more information about Sasha’s & Stella’s parent coaching membership groups:

Sasha Ayad: https://inspiredteentherapy.com/parents-start-here 

Stella O’Malley: http://www.stellaomalley.com/parent-coaching

To learn more about our sponsors, visit:




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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.
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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.