Episode 97

Published on:

25th Nov 2022

97 — The Freedom to Believe or Not To with Rev. Bernard Randall

Today’s interview might be a bit different from what our listeners are used to, and we think it’s crucial to recognize the many arenas of life where gender identity beliefs have been elevated. Not only elevated over progressive or classically liberal institutions but even within religious institutions, which you might think are inoculated from a radical gender-identity takeover.


Our guest, Bernard Randall initially studied Classics and Ancient History (the subject of his Ph.D.), but after feeling the call to ministry he added theology to his studies and was ordained in the Church of England in 2006. After a spell in parish ministry, he entered educational chaplaincy in 2011, first in a Cambridge University college, and then at Trent College, a fee-paying K-12 school near Nottingham with a Church of England foundation. He had a general awareness of the issues around gender and gender identity but was forced to face them head-on in 2018 with the arrival of Educate and Celebrate, a pro-LGBT+ program in his school. Randall completely agreed with the organization’s aim of eradicating homophobic bullying, but when staff was instructed to charismatically chant “smash heteronormativity,” Bernard felt this was at odds with Christian beliefs. When a pupil requested, in 2019, that he give a sermon in the chapel outlining some of the differences between traditional Christian beliefs and LGBT ideology, he decided to take this request very seriously. He carefully crafted the sermon to honor everyone’s right to believe what they believe. He encouraged pupils to make up their own minds about these contemporary LGBTQ issues, but also to respect those with whom they disagreed. He was initially sacked for gross misconduct but then reinstated with a final written warning and censorship of all his sermons. When COVID-19 struck, he was put on furlough and eventually made redundant. He has sued the school for religious discrimination and unfair dismissal. The court hearing was in September this year, with the result not likely to be handed down before January 2023.

This is a remarkable discussion. In addition to Bernard’s story, we also delve into some of the philosophical and therapeutic issues with things like ex-gay, detrans, emotional fragility, and whether or not we put enough trust in young people’s resilience. This is our conversation with Bernard Randall.



  • News Story on the Case: 



  • Live Tweet of the Case: 



  • Bernard’s Sermon: 


Extended Notes

  • Bernard’s father is a retired Vicar and then God called upon Bernard to become an ordained priest as well.
  • When Bernard promised to be the public face of Christian truth he did so with resolve.
  • In 2015, he joined the school as a school chaplain and teacher.
  • At the school in 2018, the pro-LGBTQ+ Educate and Celebrate organization gave staff training in queer theory and pushed their political agenda.
  • Bernard felt forced to investigate the organization’s ideas because moral and ethical matters were his responsibility as school chaplain.
  • Educate and Celebrate expected the school to adopt the entire program, which was not appropriate in Bernard’s view.
  • After delivering a sermon about the differences between Christian beliefs and the LBTGQ+ agenda he was given, Bernard was interrogated by the school.
  • Stella believes Bernard’s sermon to be moderate with lovely messaging.
  • The school’s staff wrote emails of complaint and concern about his sermon but no one addressed Bernard in person.
  • In addition, Bernard was reported to a government counter-terrorism watchdog named Prevent.
  • Bernard was released from duty for gross misconduct.
  • Bernard appealed to the board of trustees and was reinstated but his sermons were to be censored.
  • Bernard has witnessed activists on both sides of the issue ignoring the gray areas in the middle of their beliefs.
  • Stella believes people can believe whatever they want as long as they hold it in a way that doesn’t push it on other people.
  • The adolescent experience should include ups and downs.
  • Bernard is being supported by a group named Christian Concern.

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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.