Episode 16

Published on:

26th Mar 2021

16 - Gender Dysphoria: What It's Like For Parents

Loneliness, isolation and confusion often characterises the experience of parents of the gender dysphoric child. A parallel process emerges where the children are obsessed with transition and the parents become obsessed with ROGD. Trying to set loving boundaries is often misinterpreted by others as the parent being the last standing bigot. In this episode we try to empathise with parents who feel they’ve lost control over their child’s wellbeing 


Gender Dysphoria Support Network:  



Sasha’s Parent Resource Page:  



Sasha’s YouTube Channel:  



Bayswater Support: 



Gender Critical Support Board:  



Our Duty:  


Extended Notes

  • Many parents feel lonely and isolated to be a parent of a child going through gender dysphoria.
  • Sasha has been contacted by 1,500 families and has consulted with around 500 families on the topics of gender dysphoria.
  • How did Stella and her parents deal with her inner struggles with her gender when she was growing up?
  • There is a tendency to take a gender non-conforming child to a professional. Parents want to be good parents. Parents don’t want to screw their children up.
  • For parents who are referred to a gender clinic, the things that the clinic recommends are utterly shocking. Why can’t kids just be kids?
  • Gender clinics use fear tactics on the parents, and they listen.
  • Early gender intervention is very damaging to the child.
  • Suddenly, it no longer becomes about the child and their unique tastes. Their gender becomes political.
  • Parents feel very guilty when they find out that they were being led down a path of puberty blockers that could permanently alter their children’s lives forever. They thought they were just being liberal and supporting their child’s gender identity.
  • A good parent does “this.” And most parents blindly follow that rule.
  • Puberty is coming fast and now parents don’t know what to do.
  • Puberty blockers are made to seem normal in these circles, but this is a serious decision that you should not be taking lightly.
  • What do you do when you have a very traditional gender-conforming child, and then one day they decide they’re no longer a She and want to be called a He?
  • Parents get such a shock that they end up researching and researching to find out more.
  • Some parents are drowning in trying to keep this a secret.
  • By questioning whether this is right/wrong, parents get seen as transphobic, even though they’re “so liberal”!
  • Parents want so desperately to help their children out of this dark place. It ends up being a very lonely journey for the parent because the world/society wants them to blindly accept their child as they are.
  • All of a sudden, their child is getting called a new name that the parent didn’t even pick. They’re losing their parental authority and they’re being painted as the bad guys for trying to be objective.
  • Bad therapy is worse than no therapy.
  • How can parents connect with other families experiencing this same issue?

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.

* We are sponsored by ReIME and Genspect.
Rethink Identity Medicine Ethics (ReIME) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving long term care for gender variant individuals. To learn more, visit https://rethinkime.org/

Genspect is an international alliance of parent and professional groups whose aim is to advocate for parents of gender-questioning children and young people. Parents are concerned that their kids are not receiving appropriate treatment and support; many do not feel free to speak out about their concerns.
To learn more, visit https://genspect.org/
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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.