Episode 84

Published on:

26th Aug 2022

84 — Denise From 4thWaveNow: The View From Behind the Scenes

Denise is the founder of 4th wave now, the very first parent blog in the U.S. exposing the dangers and madness of the gender affirmative model of care for minors. In 2014, Denise seemed to be an ordinary U.S. mother who happened to work in healthcare, when her then 17-year-old daughter, out of the blue, texted her a link to a gender doctor’s website who claims he approves hormones and surgery for trans people.

Denise refers to herself as a “good liberal” who didn’t know anything about this but was willing to investigate, so she made phone calls. She soon became puzzled by the response of the gender affirmative clinicians and decided she needed to do her own research. As it turns out Denise is quite extraordinary. Always a maverick and a deep thinker, found herself accidentally starting the groundbreaking website, 4thWaveNow, which grew to play a huge role in careful analysis and documentation of the psychological and medical harms being done to young people in the name of gender.

Today, we talk with Denise as she reflects on how the U.S. has changed in its approach to this issue and some challenges we face when promoting gender exploratory therapy. This is a special conversation since Denise is so insanely knowledgeable about all things contemporary gender debates: from the big picture to the behind-the-scenes internet drama. Oh, and by the way, her daughter no longer identifies as trans, and she tells us about that story too. So, buckle in, and enjoy our discussion with 4thwavenow founder, Denise.


Extended Notes

  • In 2014, Denise’s daughter sent her a link to a gender clinic.
  • Denise researched as much as she could about trans people quickly.
  • She never intended to start a website but she needed to find other people who understood what she was going through.
  • She received death threats after posting her first article.
  • Denise describes the pop tarts story.
  • After a visit to a somewhat offline horse farm, Denise’s daughter desisted.
  • A certain percentage of gender dysphoric young people end up being gay or lesbian.
  • Denise doesn’t believe desistance is a bad thing.
  • Certain hormones can sterilize young people.
  • People who weren’t talking about gender issues in the past are now talking about gender issues.
  • Sasha, Stella, and Denise discuss the differences in the U.S. and the UK with regard to gender discussions.
  • Finding common ground can be difficult when all sides want to capitalize on gender discussions.
  • Denise describes the faith component involved in some detransition stories.
  • Denise was emotionally driven by her daughter’s position to research gender issues. This led to her writing 4thWaveNow.
  • Denise affirms that sometimes the truth is inconvenient.
  • Denise recounts the Susie Green/Mermaids story.
  • How the U.S. differs now is that there are more people discussing gender issues.
  • Is it conspiratorial to say institutional capture?
  • The funding of controlled studies about desistors is difficult to find.
  • The trio discusses the international differences in allowances for medical procedures.
  • Sasha points out that humans do self-destructive things.
  • What prevents professional people from speaking up with their thoughts about gender dysphoria?
  • The suicide statistic ultimately hurts parents who are trying to understand their children.

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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.