Episode 69

Published on:

1st Apr 2022

69 - Pioneers Series: Post-Series Analysis & Break!

We have completed eleven interviews and today we analyze the second half of our Pioneers Series. Stella and I discuss the psychological and emotional impact of some recent interviews. We review the shocking discussions we’ve had with several of our guests and reflect on the flawed Dutch Protocol, which is often held up as the gold standard in childhood dysphoria medical treatment. Dr. Anne Lawrence’s reflections on Autogynephilia and the extreme measures she feels some might take are discussed in the context of the Dutch researcher’s interview. We also think back about the role Az Hakeem’s groups will play when we examine this period in hindsight, years down the line. Perhaps Susan Bradley is right about ASD being a large explanatory factor in understanding gender dysphoria more broadly. We also look at the Samoan Prime Minister’s response to the Olympic Weightlifting competition: arguably the leaders of integrating male femininity into their society, the Samonas had sharp words for the Pacific Games Council’s admission of trans MtF lifter, Laurel Hubbard, in competing against two Samoan women.


We’re wrapping up this season and we’ll be returning to our regular weekly programs with our next episode on May 20th. If you are a Patron, thank you! And don’t fret: we’ll continue recording our weekly Q&As and posting them on Patreon. Thanks for listening!


Extended Notes

  • Stella and Sasha, being therapists, naturally ask questions to gain understanding of one’s thinking. They talk about the psychological and emotional toll this series had on them.
  • They first analyze their conversation with Thomas Steensma and Annelou de Vries. Sasha shares what stood out to her.
  • Stella also touches on her thoughts and why she sees avoidance tactics as anti-psychological.
  • They explain what the gender dysphoria scale is all about.
  • The entire premise of the puberty blockers experiment is based on the so-called success of the gender dysphoria scale. They both share their disagreements with these methods.
  • Sasha talks about the unethical assumptions made with their studies.
  • They move on to analyze their conversation with Anne Lawrence and how both their mouths dropped when she talked about castration.
  • Stella asks why obsession is not being brought into this rather than just focusing on it as a gender identity topic.
  • Sasha shares her thoughts about the dismissive counseling she has noticed in general.
  • They both talk about their understanding of the depth of Anne’s suffering through her experience.
  • Sasha evaluates Anne’s actions and responses as an obsession to a rejection of a body part, which is common in most Aspy people.
  • Stella thinks there is still so much to be done on autistic diagnosis brainwork and she is looking forward to the next 15‒20 years.
  • Everyone has a very high regard for the Dutch model, implying that they are being very careful but they both disagree.
  • Sasha recalls how Steensma and de Vries may have perceived them as activists in their line of questioning.
  • Stella and Sasha share more feedback about the Dutch study if they truly wanted it to be neutral and inclusive.
  • What if the whole premise of the gender dysphoria scale is flawed? Sasha asks in retrospect.
  • We shouldn’t really change something unless we have a really clear understanding of what the current state of affairs is. Stella reflects on this against puberty blockers.
  • They share how off-putting it was for them to talk about the human body in a flippant manner.
  • What if Jazz Jennings was put on this gender dysphoria scale? Stella and Sasha talk about their disappointment further.
  • Stella mentions Az Hakim and how she admires his approach vs. the rigid coldness of the so-called experts.
  • Psychotherapy vs. Bodily Autonomy. Sasha compares the difference between their approach and their guests in this series.
  • Psychology is very powerful and Sasha believes that we have a lot of opportunities to make our own future regardless of transitions.
  • Stella believes the truth is the best way and there can be real merit in having people of all different types be part of therapy circles in these studies.
  • They also talk about Paul Vascher and how he has shown them a community that has managed to integrate gender nonconformity.
  • The difference in Samoa is that they don’t medicalize gender identity which makes the levels of gender dysphoria much lower.
  • Medical model vs. developmental model. They exchange thoughts on this further.
  • They also share their thoughts about the Samoan Prime Minister’s statement about the Pacific Games Lifting.
  • Stella and Sasha talk about taking some time off and a bit of what they plan to do when they come back!


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


For 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.