Episode 122

122 - We Wrote a Book: When Kids Say They're Trans | A Guide for Thoughtful Parents

Published on: 14th July, 2023

There are so many books available for parents who want to help their kids transition, right? Of course there's no shortage of affirmative guidebooks for parents. But there are very few books written for parents about how to actually encourage critical thinking, how to slow down, exercise caution about the medical interventions and focus on developmental health first. Family dynamics and attachment are each key variables that are important not to neglect. Sasha and Stella joined forces with Lisa Marchiano to write "When Kids Say They're Trans: A Guide for Thoughtful Parents" because they wanted to give parents a different type of guidebook and resource.

In this episode, Sasha and Stella share a little bit about the book and the robust and comprehensive insights it yields. They discuss how it’s meant to be a practical guide, offering strategies to help parents reconnect with their instincts, orienting them towards reconnecting with their child in effective ways. They touch on the cultural influences on the perceptions of what “trans” is and what it means and how it can impact children differently in different stages of life, so no matter what your situation (young children, teens, young adults), there will be something that resonates for you. 

ROGD and social contagion, sexuality, queer theory, pornography, social transition, medical transition, real life stories from parents, informative side bars from field experts and researchers, sample dialogue for communicating with school professionals, family dynamics, managing conflict, self-care for parents, desistance and detransition, growth & development…they briefly touch on each chapter, covering so many important concepts. And they even suggest the value this book has to offer to the different kinds of professionals encountering gender expansive kids. So while it was written specifically for parents, therapists, teachers, school counselors, and the many other kinds of professionals impacted by gender are encouraged to consider reading it too.


When Kids Say They're Trans: A Guide for Parents


GETA Directory


Beyond Trans Directory


Open Therapy Institute


What Could a Name Change Represent for Your Gender-Questioning Teen?


Info about Sasha’s Parent Coaching Membership Group:


Stella on YouTube


Info about Stella’s Parent Coaching Membership Group:


Wider Lens Consulting

Details coming soon about plans for the 2023 Parent Renewal Retreat


If you liked this episode, more episodes you might find interesting:

Episode 54 — Finding a Therapist for Your Gender-Questioning Teen: A Conversation W/ Lisa Marchiano


Episode 96 — Official Launch: Clinical Guide for Therapists Working with Gender-Questioning Youth


Episode 103 — Follow the Gender-brick Road: from Bi to Pan to Trans


Episode 107 — What Your Teen is Trying to Tell You


Episode 110 — Pathologizing Normal: The Lure of Identity Labels & Diagnoses


Episode 111 — Affirmation Therapy: Necessary, But Not Sufficient


Top Episodes for Parents of Gender-Questioning Kids

YouTube Playlist


Please visit www.widerlenspod.com to explore more content, access additional resources, or to join our listener community.

Watch us on YouTube: www.youtube.com/@widerlenspod

For more information about Sasha’s & Stella’s parent coaching membership groups:

Sasha Ayad: https://inspiredteentherapy.com/parents-start-here 

Stella O’Malley: http://www.stellaomalley.com/parent-coaching

To learn more about our sponsors, visit:




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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

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.