Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
40 — Social Transition: A Powerful Psychosocial Intervention

40 — Social Transition: A Powerful Psychosocial Intervention


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Social transition is often the first recommended intervention when a young person begins questioning his or her gender identity. It entails changing one’s name, pronouns, appearance, and other identity markers to match the desired gender. In very recent years, schools, led by the current gender identity affirmative approach, have taken it upon themselves to support and sometimes encourage students with social transition. Families often feel pressured by professionals to make these powerful changes despite little evidence supporting these interventions. At times, living in another identity can create more problems than it resolves. In this episode Sasha and Stella do a deep dive into the many challenges that arise with social transition.


Michael Biggs on Puberty Blockers:

How Trans Kids and Parents Decide When to Start Medical Transition (VICE News):

Detrans Needs Survey:

Kai and Kimberly:

Catherine Tuerk:

Extended Notes:

  • What’s the difference between pre-gay children vs. transgender children? 

  • Sasha shares a story of how a mother reacted poorly to her son’s femininity. 

  • So many families just have no idea what to do in a situation like this. 

  • What does transitioning look like for those under 8 or 9? 

  • For parents, it’s almost like a scary nightmare when their child says they’re an opposite sex. What do you do? How does one prepare for this? 

  • Adults have the responsibility to teach their children about the realities of the world. 

  • Should children really be leading the way on how they’re feeling? Should therapists really be listening to these young children? 

  • What is sex constancy? 

  • It’s so dangerous to have a 4 year old transition. 

  • Should you let children explore their gender identity? Sasha thinks it’s a blurry line. 

  • Context and environment matters. Watchfully waiting doesn’t always make sense in today’s world when our children have strong influences to ‘be a certain way’. 

  • During Stella’s generation, they’d just ask her if she was a boy or a girl. Now, children are being asked by their community if they’re trans. It’s a very different shift. 

  • People are put into a very ‘gendered’ box these days. The moment you’re slightly different than that, society asks if you’re transitioning. 

  • What are the psychological impacts of a 13 year old socially transitioning? 

  • Children who socially transition end up in an interesting situation. They either have to commit 100% or be seen as a fraud. 

  • Parents are terrified. They go down this path because they’re afraid their child will commit suicide. 

  • Your 5 year old is not going to be committing suicide! 

  • There’s so much talk about transphobia and parents kicking these children out of the house. The opposite is true. Parents are deeply concerned and they want to do the best for their children and love them unconditionally, no matter their gender. 

  • What is the best way forward? How can people be more accepting of pronouns and not feel like they’re in a box?  

  • Why would you tell a young child that using the wrong pronouns would kill you? It’s gotten that extreme and the pressure on these young minds are immense. 

  • The moment a child declares they are socially transitioned, it seems like they get pushed by the adults into doing things they might not feel comfortable doing yet. For example, a young female girl is encouraged to change in the male lockers. 

  • The respect for the process seems to be thrown out the window. 

This podcast is partially sponsored by ReIME, Rethink Identity Medicine Ethics:

Learn more about our show:

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.