Episode 63

Published on:

18th Feb 2022

63 - Pioneers: Mid-Series Analysis

Sasha and Stella sit down to discuss their thoughts and reflections on the Pioneer interviews they’ve conducted so far in the series. This analysis attempts to synthesize what they’ve learned, what differences in perspective they hold compared to their previous guests, and reiterate the importance of these discussions within the wider context of childhood transition, scientific inquiry, and deep exploration of all things gender.



Butch Identity Development

Extended Notes

  • Sasha and Stella give a mid-series update on some of the thoughts they have had so far and talk about the range of guests they've had on.
  • This series started with a bang with Dr. Paul Vasey and his research in Samoa.
  • Is it more acceptable now for women to socially transition?
  • Our society is obsessed with femininity. Sasha explores whether more masculine women get thrown to the wayside because of it.
  • Is all of this genetic or not? Stella thinks there is a hereditary component to all of this.
  • People who feel like they have a genetic mental health condition vs. an environmental mental health condition feel alienated. When it’s deemed “environmental,” it feels more human.
  • Can we nurture ourselves into a different place from where we started? Stella says yes.
  • Just because you are susceptible to something, doesn’t mean you will become it or that you are it.
  • Where did the concept of puberty blockers come from? Why did it make sense as a form of “treatment”?
  • Guest Michael Bailey had some thoughts on whether it made sense for trans men to marry or have a partner.
  • Can you have a successful relationship when you have autogynephilia?
  • Stella knows so many functioning alcoholics. You can always live what looks like a successful life, but underneath the surface, it’s in shambles.
  • Stella is curious to see if anyone is doing research behind trans porn and who is watching that.
  • The whole field around children with gender dysphoria has been badly handled.
  • Guest Dr. Steve Levine talked about the chain of trust researchers have with one another and how there’s very little cross-checking the actual work.
  • Stella is shocked that people want to silence researchers who have dedicated the last 20‒30 years of their lives within a particular field. Why silence them?
  • Guest Carole Hooven experienced sexual assault and wanted to understand, through researching monkeys, why we were aggressive to one another.
  • Sasha and Stella have some interesting guests lined up for you!

This podcast is sponsored by ReIME and Genspect. Visit Rethinkime.org and Genspect.org to learn more.


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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.