Episode 9

Published on:

5th Feb 2021

9 - The Politicization of Gender

How and when did gender become such a heightened political issue? And what are the psychological implications for individuals and the collective? The origins of feminism, the LBG liberation movement, and the emerging transgender movement are explored within a psychological and cultural framework



Beauvoir, Simone de (2009) [1949]. The Second Sex. Trans. Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier. Random House. Simone de Beauvoir wrote that "the first time we see a woman take up her pen in defense of her sex" was Christine de Pizan in Epitre au Dieu d'Amour (Epistle to the God of Love) in the 15th century.  


Friedan, Betty (1963). The Feminine Mystique. W.W.Norton & Company. 


French, Marilyn (1977) The Women’s Room. Simon & Schuster 


Stryker, Susan (2009-01-07). Transgender History. Da Capo Press  


Bailey, Michael (2003). The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender Bending and Transsexualism. Joseph Henry Press 


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental 

 disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press. 



10 reasons american politics are so divided:  



Conversion therapy bans:  



Tumblr: A Call Out Post:  



The Controversy Surrounding the Man Who Would Be Queen (Michael Bailey’s book): 




Suffragette (2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFoQt5vsgnQ 



Julie Bindel, 2004 article in the Guardian:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/jan/31/gender.weekend7  


Kimberly Nixon and the Vancouver Rape Relief Centre: Rupp, Shannon (February 3, 2007). "Transsexual Loses Fight with Women's Shelter". The Tyee: https://thetyee.ca/News/2007/02/03/Nixon/  


Michigan Womyn's Music Festival:  https://www.facebook.com/michfest/posts/10153186431364831 



Ken Zucker:  https://www.thecut.com/2016/02/fight-over-trans-kids-got-a-researcher-fired.html  


Michael Bailey: https://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2961&context=journal_articles  


The DSM, gender dysphoria, Ray Blanchard: https://ph.news.yahoo.com/meet-bold-sexologist-questioning-transgender-103022519.html  


WPATH, Standards of Care, Version 7, Coleman et al., (2012),  



World Health Organization. (2018). ‘International Classification of Diseases: Gender  

incongruence (ICD-11)’. Available at: http://www.who.int/health-topics/international-classification-of-diseases.  


Griffin, L. & Clyde, K. (2019). Challenging Stigma in Sexuality and Gender. World  

Psychiatry. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/bjpsych-international/article/stigma-in-psychiatry-seen-through-the-lens-of-sexuality-and-gender/FF24E21150B556BD429F39102B7FF2CE?fbclid=IwAR36t2CBsUc-2Aw6k_lyUzhHo5LmNOBStmbQx9NxjMcK3mC6ZFApQdX8C1E#fndtn-comments

We note that ICD-11 has dropped gender dysphoria from its chapter on mental and behavioural disorders, and moved it to the chapter on sexual health. What then, is the exact nature of this sexual health disorder? Are children necessarily prescribed puberty blockers and cross sex hormones because they suffer from a sexual health issue?’ 

Extended Notes

  • Those who don’t study history are condemned to repeat it.
  • Stella fills us in on some early feminist history.
  • People were willing to die over their political beliefs. It started out peacefully but it leads them nowhere.
  • The radical extremist is problematic, but it’s sometimes desperately needed.
  • What is political lesbianism? Sasha read that “every time a man and a woman have sex it is rape.”
  • The public’s perception of black women vs. white women.
  • Intersectionality needs more credit.
  • Radical feminists are being dismissed, but they’re making absolutely valid points.
  • How did the push for LGBT rights get started?
  • How did the “T” come into the LGBT movement?
  • Sasha makes a point on how the language around trans men and women has changed from the mid-’90s to now.
  • Why is American politics so divided right now? Sasha weighs in.
  • How we vote and what policies we agree with are not based on rational thinking.
  • The 24/7 news cycle is not helping anybody.
  • Stella and Sasha share the differences in news cycles/media in their respective countries.
  • The CDC in America has strict guidelines on how to not make suicide seem glamorous to those at risk.
  • Domestic violence shelters are often under strict orders to not reveal their location or to never allow men on the location because abusers will go to far lengths to find their victim and kill them.
  • Even though most people are good people, you have the outliers and it becomes a case of “one bad apple spoils the bunch.”
  • When something becomes so politicized and there is a control on “correct” language, you are forbidden to talk about what’s really happening.
  • Stella breaks down the different terms prior to it being called gender dysphoria.
  • Sasha feels like there is a political agenda/undertone that makes it difficult to get real work done.
  • Let’s talk about the psychological impacts of shame.
  • Can dogs be transphobic?
  • What is sex health in the eyes of a three-year-old? Should you be providing puberty blockers to children so young?
  • Although Stella believed she should have been a boy throughout her early days, she is so incredibly proud she is a woman and was able to give birth to her children.

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

Profile picture for Stella O'Malley
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

Profile picture for Sasha Ayad
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.