Episode 81

Published on:

5th Aug 2022

81 - An Unlikely Court Case w/ Maya Forstater

Maya Forstater is a researcher, writer, and advisor working on business and sustainable development. She is one of the founders of Sex Matters, the UK-based, not-for-profit organization that seeks to re-establish that sex matters in rules, laws, policies, language, and culture.

In 2019, she lost her job after tweeting and writing about sex and gender. She had begun talking and tweeting about news articles that she felt espoused bizarre new beliefs about gender and what the implications may be. For example, while building a campaign to combat overly-sex-segregated toys for children, called Let Toys be Toys, Maya observed that society had shifted from fighting sex stereotypes to claiming that some children were neither girls nor boys. It was fascinating to learn that even when researching tax policy, Maya found herself calling out unrealistic, utopian ideas and ruffling feathers among her liberal peers. In this conversation, Maya also reflects on her unlikely position in her landmark court case which established that gender-critical views are protected as a belief under the equality act. Despite her reluctance to jump into a complex and messy legal process, she felt a strong conviction to take this on.


  • Wider Lens Renewal Retreat — Arizona 2022:


  • Sex Matters:


  • Let Toys Be Toys:


  • More of Maya’s Writing:


Extended Notes

  • In 2017, Maya took notice of the gender wars and started the “Let Toys Be Toys” campaign.
  • Maya believes women are women and women have rights.
  • It is widely spread that Maya is a Tax Accountant but her role in social justice is much more than that.
  • Maya challenges people to engage in issues on Twitter and in her workplace.
  • An employer told Maya that because she retweeted Kathleen Stock she was a bigot.
  • Maya retained her job after explaining her plight on a blog and Twitter.
  • Her father’s legal experience influenced Maya about whether or not to sue others.
  • There is a legal time limit on discrimination cases.
  • At the moment Maya was prepared to launch a public campaign, a major social justice law firm dropped her case.
  • Maya has public support from those unable to raise their voice at work.
  • The first hearing, that Maya lost, was about sex being real and a protected philosophical belief.
  • In the first trial, a judge called Maya an Absolutist.
  • A tweet from JK Rowling catapulted Maya’s campaign into the international spotlight.
  • In 2021, Maya finally won a case that created a precedent that gender-critical people have the same rights as religious people.
  • Sex Matters is an organization Maya founded to educate people about their rights.

This podcast is sponsored by ReIME and Genspect. Visit https://rethinkime.org/ and https://genspect.org/ to learn more.

For more about our show: https://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.