Episode 32

Published on:

16th Jul 2021

32 - Stereotypes

Are stereotypes always harmful? Should we use stereotypes to predict and impose behaviors and preferences onto others? Some people believe transgender identities defy stereotypes while others believe they reify them. And where does stereotyping come from? This is a mental shortcut with complex roots and crucial implications for the gender debates.


Carole Hooven: Testosterone: The Story of the Hormone that dominates and Divides Us  

Noam Shpancer: Stereotype Accuracy: A displeasing truth 

Extended Notes

  • There are so many stereotypes in this space. What’s the right definition of gender dysphoria? The DMS is just riddled with stereotypes.
  • Stella reads out the DMS description of gender dysphoria.
  • The first six descriptors of gender dysphoria in the DMS are very stereotypical. It’s fixed with what a boy should play vs. what a girl should play.
  • Why are pink colors “girlish” and why are blue colors “boyish”?
  • What are some common stereotypes about women? Or even Irish people?
  • What frustrates Stella the most about stereotypes?
  • Stereotypes are always framed as harmful in this community, yet they also use them extensively. It’s a bit of a contradiction.
  • These stereotypes really do come from somewhere. There’s a reason why these exist.
  • Stella and Sasha compare their culture and differences.
  • Our brains use stereotypes to keep us safe.
  • Both sides are claiming they’re breaking the stereotypes down, but are they?
  • There are girls who are wearing makeup and are in girls’ clothing, but they are saying they identify as trans guys. What’s going on? It’s a huge mind pretzel.
  • It’s confusing, they say “treat me like a man,” but what does that mean if it’s outside of a stereotype?
  • There’s a mix between medical and rebellion language and, when it comes to gender, this is very scary.
  • If you call a phone a duck and still call a duck a duck, what the heck are we actually talking about?
  • Free speech is everything and trying to control or change speech, even in its respect to gender, is dangerous.
  • Stereotypes have a certain level of efficiency towards understanding what another person means.
  • Kids are resident stereotypes all the time, but they also seek out edgy and cool ones to be a part of. Their own tribe, if you will.
  • When they feel like a stereotype is “off-limits,” Sasha wonders how that can impact the development stages of a child if they feel like they can’t be whole or have to shun parts of their identity to fit in.
  • There’s a subcategory of feminists who feel driven to be sexually liberated and proud to sleep with multiple, multiple people, but Stella and Sasha ask questions on why that is.

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


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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

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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.