Episode 139

139 - Sex, Politics, and Double-Standards in Women's Sports with Coach Linda Blade

Published on: 3rd November, 2023

Coach Linda Blade joins Sasha & Stella for an incredible conversation about the critical issues surrounding fairness and inclusivity in women's sports. They explore the challenges and biases faced by female athletes in the wake of transgender athletes competing in women's categories, particularly the profound psychological impact. The conversation also sheds light on the rich historical context of fairness in competition. 

Dr. Linda Blade is a former Canadian Champion (1986) and a full scholarship NCAA All American (1984) in Track & Field. As a Chartered Professional Coach, Linda has worked internationally for over 30 years with hundreds of athletes. Her expertise has extended to leadership roles (selected): Provincial President (2014 -2023) of Athletics Alberta, where she developed sex-based eligibility guidelines; Co-author of UNSPORTING: How Trans Activism and Science Denial are Destroying Sport (2021); Collaborator in the establishment of the International Consortium on Female Sport (ICFS). Linda has been publicly advocating for the fairness and safety of female athletes since 2018. Dr. Blade will be presenting at Genspect’s The Bigger Picture Conference in Denver, CO.

Don’t miss this valuable discussion emphasizing the importance of sex-based policies for fostering a fair competition environment. Dr. Blade even offers insights into the use of puberty blockers in youth sports, highlighting the potential risks and implications for young athletes, and also the challenges with data collection and analysis.  

The conversation also touches on the question of intersex conditions and how they have influenced elite women's sports, underscoring the need for thoughtful policies and guidelines to address DSD (differences in sexual development), ensuring fairness and inclusivity while respecting the unique circumstances of athletes like Caster Semenya, a South African intersex olympic athlete. This is an engaging episode offering a vital perspective on the complexities of balancing inclusivity with fairness.

Attend Genspect’s: The Bigger Picture


Find Coach Blade on Twitter: @coachblade 

More About Coach Blade: 


Unsporting: How Trans Activism and Science Denial are Destroying Sport


Women's Rights, Gender Wrongs: the global impact of gender-identity ideology


Contribute to the International Consortium of Female Sport


Contribute to The Independent Council on Women's Sports (ICONS)


Contribute to Champion Women


Contribute to Fair Play for Women


Contribute to Contra el Borrado de Las Mujeres


Linda Blade on the History of Women's Sports Policy


Genspect Speakers On Gender A Wider Lens | GWL Episode Playlist


Genspect hosted The Bigger Picture conference in Killarney, Ireland, at the end of April. Many of the esteemed speakers at this groundbreaking conference have been guests on this podcast in the past. This is a playlist of those episodes.

Order Our Book – When Kids Say They’re Trans: A Guide for Thoughtful Parents


Support the Show & Access Exclusive Content


Join the conversation on YouTube


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

Episode 41 - Trans: A Conversation with Helen Joyce


Episode 71 - Gender: The American State of Affairs w Jesse Singal


Episode 88 — Gender: Philosophy, Institutions, and Policy w/ Leor Sapir


Episode 93 — A Takedown of Gender Politics with Wesley Yang


Episode 118 - Prioritizing Expensive & Invasive Interventions: American Healthcare w/ Zhenya Abbruzzese


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

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.