Episode 131

131 - Facing Futility: You Can’t Actually Change Sex, with Corinna Cohn

Published on: 15th September, 2023

Fellow podcaster, Corinna Cohn, joins Sasha and Stella for an incredibly deep and meaningful discussion. Demonstrating no shortage of her charming sarcastic banter, Corinna offers an endearing balance of humor and thoughtful introspection as well as informative insights based on her lived experience as a transexual, writer, and activist. The conversation covers a wide array of topics including Corinna’s early experiences with gender identity exploration, transition and the changing landscape of gender, as well as her reevaluation of her own perceptions of gender and self-acceptance. 

Corinna Cohn is a writer, podcaster, and activist from Indiana. Corinna was diagnosed with gender identity disorder at age 15 and underwent surgical transition at age 19. In 2019, she became involved in patient advocacy, and in 2022 began organizing to support legislation that regulates gender medicalization of minors. Corinna has met with legislators and given testimony in Indiana, Texas, and Ohio.

In this episode, you’ll hear Corinna share her reflections that the acknowledgment of futility is a crucial step in one’s personal growth and acceptance, particularly in challenging situations. Together, Sasha, Stella and Corinna get into finding meaning in navigating ambivalence, self-reflection and accountability. Their discussion also highlights Corinna’s activism in the context of the evolution of transgender activism, the complexity of legislative politics in the United States and the projected future of gender identity politics as a movement.


Corinna’s Substack


Heterodorx Podcast (with co-host Nina Paley):


Corinna’s Washington Post Article: 


Corinna’s Article about Texas HB3502


Democrat Rep. Shawn Thierry’s Address to Texas Legislative Body


Corinna’s Indiana testimony (regarding sports):


Corinna’s Indiana testimony (regarding medical interventions on minors): 


Corinna’s Ohio testimony (regarding medical interventions on minors):


Pre-Order When Kids Say They’re Trans: A Guide for Thoughtful Parents


Join Our Listener Community


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

Episode 8 - TransGenerational Wisdom: A conversation with Buck Angel


Episode 78 — Affirming Reality for Kids with Stephanie Davies-Arai


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


Episode 110 — Pathologizing Normal: The Lure of Identity Labels & Diagnoses


Episode 111 — Affirmation Therapy: Necessary, But Not Sufficient


Episode 123 - Drag, Drinking and Taking off the Mask with Calvin Lunt


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

Watch us on YouTube: 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

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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

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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.