Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
129 - Is “Gender-Affirming Care” an Oedipus Trap

129 - Is “Gender-Affirming Care” an Oedipus Trap


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In this episode, Stella & Sasha explore the concept of an Oedipus Trap, inspired by a podcast with Megan McArdle (see below). Sasha and Stella apply this psychological concept to the issue of childhood transition and how so many people involved might refuse to face their own mistakes or acknowledge their own accountability to the consequences of gender-affirming care.

In her opinion piece for the Washington Post (linked below), Megan McArdle describes the oedipus trap as “There are some mistakes no one can live with, no matter how innocently they were made…Thus the trap: If you have made such a mistake, it is obviously better not to know you have done so.” The origin of the concept comes from the story of Oedipus from Greek mythology (linked below).

In their conversation, Stella & Sasha speak delicately, but candidly about reconciling the choices and actions of affirmative clinicians, as their stories and experiences can offer valuable insights for reflection and learning around the harm vs. benefit analysis of youth gender transition.


Pre-Order When Kids Say They’re Trans: A Guide for Thoughtful Parents 

Attend Our Live Event – When Kids Say They’re Trans: Weekend of Workshops | September 21-24, 2023

Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans: Tales from the Home Front in the Fight to Save Our Kids

Megan McArdle on the Oedipus Trap

The Washing Post Article

Opinion | What the world can learn from a lobotomy surgeon’s horrible mistake 

Oedipus from Greek Mythology 

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

Episode 27 — Behind the Curtain: Psychotherapy for Gender Dysphoria with Sue and Marcus Evans

Episode 91 — Uncovering the GIDS Disaster: Dr. Dave Bell 

Episode 104 — No Time to Think with Hannah Barnes: The Downfall of GIDS at the Tavistock 

Episode 109 — What If We Are All Wrong: A Mother’s Regret with Rose 

Episode 112 — Jamie Reed: “Every Ethical Line I Drew Was Walked On… We Are Hurting People” 

Episode 125 — From Gender Expert to Skeptical Dissenter with Sara Stockton

GWL Episode Playlist

Conversations about Medical Interventions & Gender

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Top Episodes for Therapists Working with Gender 

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GIDS at the Tavistock

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The Dutch Studies 

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Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
Therapists Stella O’Malley and Sasha Ayad explore diverse perspectives through a psychological lens, fostering open dialogue on gender identity, transition, and the transgender umbrella. Their work with gender dysphoric clients and unique experiences yield an informed outlook delving into gender's psychological nuances. Interviews with clinicians, academics, transgender individuals, parents, detransitioners, and others touched by gender provide varied insights and intimate inquiry into the taboo yet relevant topic.