Episode 3

3 - Feminine Boy to Gay Man: a Conversation With Arty Morty

Published on: 25th December, 2020

Quick Notes:

Arty Morty* found it very difficult to grow up as a feminine boy amongst his peers. In this episode he explains how difficulties in his social and family life shaped his identity development. Ultimately, he came to accept himself as a gay man and he touches upon the new concept of gender identity and how it might have impacted his identity had he been a teen today.

*Arty Morty is a pseudonym 


Arty Morty on Twitter

Arty Morty on YouTube

Rupert Everett on Childhood Dysphoria

The Man Who Would Be Queen by Michael Bailey

Extended Notes

  • Who is Arty and how has gender touched his life?
  • Arty has always been a feminine boy growing up. He grew up with his mother and his sister.
  • Arty remembers one of his very first memories (at the age of 2) was him wanting to be one of Charlie's Angels.
  • Arty’s father was in the army and he died. This made his mother very opposed to weapons and violence.
  • When Arty went to school, his feminine nature became a huge problem. The children thought he had AIDS.
  • When Arty’s family moved to a smaller town, the bullying got much worse. Not only was he a sissy boy, but he was a city nerd.
  • Male figures frighten Arty. They were too rough and always wanted to fight. Arty had a lot more fun by having female friendships.
  • Arty would have a fun time playing one-on-one with boys, but the moment another one showed up, they had to reject him and take on a more masculine role.
  • Were there any other boys in Arty’s group that are now gay?
  • Because Canada is such a hockey country, which is very violent in itself, a lot of the men Arty grew up with thought this behavior was normal.
  • It’s the Canadian identity to watch people beat each other up.
  • Arty was getting teased, bullied, and beat up regularly at school. He had enough. He ran away from home at 15.
  • You see in the media how men act a certain way. Arty knew he would never be one of those guys. He knew that the world had no place for him.
  • No matter how much gay acceptance there is in the world, it will always be hard for a teenage boy trying to find his way.
  • People say being gay is an identity. It’s not. It’s a physiological reaction.
  • There still isn’t proper representation in the media. Yes, there might be gay characters, but they’re a trope and not a real representation of gay people.
  • Are gay men attracted to masculine traits?
  • Some gay men have a total rejection of gay culture. Arty explains a little bit about the gay ghettos you’d find in cities back in the ’90s.
  • There’s a lot of ambivalence when you discover there’s something different about you.
  • When did Arty come to terms with his sexuality?
  • If Arty was 15 today, how would he feel about coming out today?
  • In today’s climate, Arty would identify as trans if he could at that age. He would have wanted to undergo a sex change, but he’s glad he has the body he has today.
  • Not all feminine boys become attracted to the same sex.
  • Although being gay has been decriminalized, it still feels like we’re living in the early days.
  • How should parents react or best approach their child’s gender nonconformity?
  • Finding yourself is hard. It’s part of being human.

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.

Thank you to our sponsors:
Genspect - an international organization which offers an alternative to WPATH. Providing a range of education, resources and supports to anyone impacted by gender distress, Genspect unites many different organizations globally, and gives voice to 1,000s of previously untold stories. For more info, visit genspect.org.

GETA - an association of therapists who believe that individuals experiencing gender related concerns ought to be treated using a whole person approach. GETA connects like minded clinicians, provides educational resources and trainings, and helps people with gender dysphoria find support. For more info, visit genderexploratory.com.
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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

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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.