Episode 15

15 - One Detrans Voice: A Conversation with Carol

Published on: 19th March, 2021

Carol is a 40-year-old detransitioned butch lesbian. She transitioned at 34 and is part of an often ignored group: adult lesbians turned trans men. Carol tells us about the initial highs of transition and how things took a turn for the worse…


Extended Notes

  • Where is the space for de-transitioners?
  • Carol is a lesbian who is no longer taking hormones. She is beginning to detransition.
  • What was Carol’s childhood like?
  • When Carol was 9, she was told she was acting like a boy and needed to change.
  • Carol’s mother lost her mind on her pastor when she found out Carol played football with his boys.
  • Carol suspects that her mother was a closeted woman.
  • Why did Carol choose not to go to high school?
  • Carol thought it was really cool to see women who didn’t shave their hair. She saw what “normal” women were supposed to look like.
  • Alcoholism is a big issue in the lesbian community.
  • What makes someone trans? Carol checked all the boxes. But the boxes were wrong!
  • “I don’t feel like a girl.” is just another way for someone to say that they don’t feel pretty.
  • Carol has a younger sister who has blonde hair and blue eyes, and everybody just fell over themselves for her growing up. Carol felt like an ogre.
  • At 17 years old, Carol had a nervous breakdown.
  • The butch lesbian is often the butt of many jokes in the media. It was difficult for Carol who had more masculine traits.
  • When did Carol first think about transitioning?
  • Carol received different treatment for being a butch woman.
  • Being a guy — is it easier?
  • Carol tried twice to transition. In her 20s and her 30s. What was that experience like?
  • Carol did not know the side effects she would have from taking testosterone. It was so experimental.
  • Taking testosterone, especially in those large amounts, it’s like a drug.
  • Carol’s mental state started to deteriorate about a year and a half into her transition as a man.
  • By year four, Carol was paralyzed in her room and she didn’t want to leave because her anxiety was so high.
  • Carol’s female anatomy was deteriorating as well from lack of use, so a new set of problems would have arisen if she had kept taking hormones.
  • When did Carol decide to de-transition?
  • Carol’s gender struggles were a form of distress and she was not given that many options to solve that distress.
  • People often throw “transition!” into the fold as the only option when there are other pathways to explore. We need other options and education around that. Transitioning isn’t the only solution.

This podcast is partially sponsored by ReIME, Rethink Identity Medicine Ethics:


Learn more about our show: Linktr.ee/WiderLensPod

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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.