Episode 99

Published on:

9th Dec 2022

99 — Detransitioned & Damaged by the Dutch Protocol: Teiresias

In this last episode before our break, we begin with some important and exciting announcements about what listeners can expect in 2023 from Gender: A Wider Lens. We then launch into one of our most important interviews yet: “Teiresias” was a patient at the notorious Dutch clinic. Unlike the common misconception that the Dutch used an air-tight method for correctly identifying kids who would benefit long-term from transition, Teiresias’s detransition reveals the truth about childhood gender medicine, even when it’s being practiced by the “gold standard.”

He speaks out about his medical transition and subsequent detransition. Teiresias was a feminine boy who, with puberty, became increasingly distressed by his same-sex attraction. One day Teiresias watched a TV program where a trans man described the happiness that came about as a result of medical transition. A seed was sown, and Teiresias turned to the internet where he was encouraged by older trans women to transition as soon as possible.

Teiresias describes the way the Dutch clinic ignored his childhood trauma, the difficulties with his father, his self-loathing, and his internalized homophobia and instead, led him on to a medicalized pathway with the gender affirmative approach. An over-eager surgeon encouraged Teiresias to undergo many procedures until one day he realized he was chasing a false dream. He then decided to get off the fast track and began his detransition.


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Extended Notes

  • Stella shares her experience of speaking with detransitioners from the Dutch clinic.
  • Teiresias felt that he had a double side, telling friends he wanted to be a girl.
  • His parents switched schools because of the bullying in the previous one.
  • At ten, Teiresias felt neutral about being attracted to other boys and said he was gay.
  • He thought puberty would make him attracted to women.
  • He found himself mimicking straight boys and talking about liking girls while still being attracted to boys.
  • At 12 or 13, he used derogatory terms to describe trans people just like everyone else.
  • The family went through a difficult divorce while he was entering puberty. It caused him to isolate himself.
  • In 2015, a talk show introduced him to a teenage trans man who described how happy he was after transitioning.
  • Based on information he found on the internet, he self-diagnosed as bipolar and autistic until finding a trans description he aligned with.
  • Teiresias started fixating on certain parts of his body but it never solved a problem.
  • After entering the Dutch clinic, he had a specific picture in his mind of the woman he wanted to become.
  • During his intake to the clinic in 2015, his mother insisted he was still troubled by his relationship with his father.
  • There was a real-life phase at the clinic where Teiresias was expected to dress and live as a woman. He didn’t feel comfortable participating.
  • The clinic gave him hormones hoping it would give him the self-esteem to help him make the switch from male to female. They said it was their gift to him.
  • He gained a lot of weight, possibly from the estrogen.
  • After several surgeries, Teiresias was left with a nose that didn’t look normal or allow him to breathe.
  • He worried about how people perceived him when in public because he was hyper-focused on the shape of his body.
  • He returned to the Dutch clinic to confront the staff.
  • During his detransition and through his anger, Teiresias continued to go to the gender clinic so they could better understand why he desisted.
  • A documentary solidified his belief that he was making a mistake.
  • Teiresias contends that he has always had some type of body dysphoria.

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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.