Episode 43

Published on:

1st Oct 2021

43 - Sasha & Stella Answer Your Questions: Part 3

The listeners’ questions continue to absorb our interest and influence our discussion. The issue of power struggles between parents and children has been raised along with a special focus on knowing when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. The script that trans-identified teenagers often use to declare their trans identification is outlined and Sasha & Stella discuss a kind of counter script for parents. Finally, we suggest a liberal parents’ guide to explaining your child’s gender-related distress with friends, neighbors, and the wider community.


Sasha’s Video: Effects of Affirmation: Gender Identity vs Sexual Orientation:



Motherhood: Facing and Finding Yourself, by Lisa Marchiano:



Extended Notes:

  • Thank you so much for submitting your questions and providing Stella and Sasha with excellent feedback! We appreciate you!
  • Q: What can I say to my daughter? Is there a counter script?
  • Stella loves the idea of having a script for parents to help their teen think deeper on some of the implications of a transition.
  • Sasha has noticed parents falling into certain categories, like having a difficult time with their authority towards their child vs. some parents going in with a lot of fear and force on what their child “should” be.
  • Don’t expect lightbulb moments from your child when you share a piece of wisdom with them. Sometimes it takes some time to sink in.
  • Should you use a script? Sasha believes that everyone’s situation is different. She believes it’s best to share wisdom and advice that is specifically applicable to your child.
  • Remember, you don’t need to turn this conversation into a political debate with your child.
  • As parents, we tend to put on a cheerful “life is great” smile in front of our kids, even when you might be mad at your partner, or deeply dislike your mother-in-law. There’s something very unauthentic about this. Children pick up on it and they’ll call you out on it around the ages of 12 to 14.
  • The best friend’s parents. Let’s talk about them. They’ve very liberal with your child’s pronouns because it’s not happening to their family.
  • People who are giving your child the okay to transition, it’s another form of you having to stand up for your child to people who think they know better than you as a parent.
  • Q: I can’t deny her feelings, but I think we should stay open-minded for future options, but that’s not enough for her. It feels like a power struggle. What should I do?
  • Some parents want to avoid the power struggle, so they end up saying yes to everything. That’s not the best way forward, either.
  • When you have a kid who has been historically compliant under their parents’ wishes, the power struggle is even stronger as they grow up.
  • What are some of the best ways to approach this subject? Stella offers some advice on how to soften the elephant in the room.
  • The power struggles are exhausting. It’s very difficult to manage these temperaments and all the fun gets zapped out of the household.
  • Q: Gender dysphoria vs. social dysphoria. Are there tips on ways to help a child with social dysphoria? Can you talk more about this?
  • What is social dysphoria? There is general anxiety around people who are prejudging you before knowing you.
  • You cannot change somebody’s perception of you. You are setting yourself up for failure and misery if you think you can.
  • It takes time to understand this, but as a child or young teen, it’s devastating knowing that people see you a certain way and there’s nothing you can do to change it.
  • Have more questions? Keep sending it our way! Stella and Sasha love answering them.

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

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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.