TOP 5 of 2022 Countdown: #4 EP 88 - Gender: Philosophy, Institutions, and Policy with Leor Sapir

Published on: 6th January, 2023

This episode is being rereleased as part of our Top 5 Episodes of 2022 Countdown! 

If you’ve ever asked yourself: how is this happening? How are so many institutions completely captured by contemporary gender beliefs? How are medical bodies, educational institutions, and courts operating in ways that seem crazy? Well, then you really need to listen to this insightful and clarifying discussion with Leor Sapir.


Leor is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute. A driven researcher with a Ph.D. in Political Science from Boston College, Dr. Sapir previously completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Program on Constitutional Government at Harvard University. His academic work, including his dissertation on the Obama Administration’s Title IX regulations, has investigated how America’s political culture and constitutional government shape public policy on matters of civil rights.

Similarly, at the Manhattan Institute, Dr. Sapir will apply his knowledge of political theory and American government to policy issues, homing in, particularly on issues of gender identity and transgenderism. His inaugural essay in the Winter 2022 issue of City Journal explores a series of recent court rulings surrounding transgenderism, demonstrating how bad ideas translate from fringe academic theory into law and policy. Previous web pieces for City Journal have explored evolving athletic guidelines and media coverage surrounding transgender issues. He discussed these pieces in a recent episode of City Journal’s 10 Blocks podcast.

Leor asserts the collapse of liberal optimism has brought about mindless apathy and subsequently, a kind of soft despotism. Leor makes the razor-sharp observation that being non-judgemental is our new civic religion. We talk about institutional capture, whether courts are the best place to decipher complex social issues, and what the impending malpractice lawsuits will mean for gender medicine. We also discuss the difference between the U.S. system and systems in progressive European countries, where a reversal of affirmation medicine seems to be taking place. We get into so much here: political philosophy, the virtue of tolerance vs. apathy, and what’s at stake when members of a society begin to lose their sense of engagement and responsibility to one another and to truth itself.

Links & Resources:


  • Ensuring Comprehensive Care and Support for Transgender and Gender-Diverse Children and Adolescents — 2018 what Leor calls the Rafferty, Fact-Free Paper 


Extended Notes

  • The Obama letter introduced to schools seemed to come out of left field.
  • As soon as Leor dipped his toe into the U.S. Government’s take on youth gender dysphoria, he was engulfed by all aspects of it.
  • Leor shares the model of how American politics works.
  • Leor explains why U.S. courts are not great at resolving social and medical debates and how they can distort issues.
  • Reforming the AAP may be the key to gender-related policy reversal.
  • Are some pediatricians treating based on their empathy and not good judgment?
  • In the U.S., it is a common practice to despair and not get to the root cause of issues.
  • Do psychologists see their role as alleviating subjective distress at the moment as Leor says?
  • Living without judgment is impossible for a human.
  • Leor does not like the term gender ideology.
  • Leor philosophizes about what happens when apathy is paramount in society.
  • One understanding of gender ideology is gender is not who we are, it is something we do.
  • Stella believes slogans and catchy phrases about childhood pediatric medical transition would embolden the campaign.
  • Teenage girls registering as non-binary don’t want to be considered a two-dimensional stereotype.
  • Equity and equality are not just different, they are the opposite.
  • Leor says we need to have language that recaptures common sense and sanity regarding gender ideology issues.
  • Body-affirming care helps kids in distress feel comfortable in their bodies.

This podcast is sponsored by ReIME and Genspect. Visit https://rethinkime.org/ and https://genspect.org/ to learn more.

For more about our show: https://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

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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.