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160 - People Deserve Better Than This "Gender-Affirming Care" with Christina Buttons

A conversation about the intersection of autism, dysphoria, and living life online

This episode opens with an extended introduction exploring the recent release of The Cass Review - Final Report, as this is a massive development in the world of gender medicalization. The guest feature begins at the 00:10:30 timestamp, so please feel free to skip ahead if you’d like.

Sasha and Stella welcome guest, Christina Buttons, for a special conversation covering everything from her personal experiences with autism, her troubled adolescence, and her work as an investigative journalist to her awakening to gender issues and her extensive research efforts. 

Christina Buttons is a Nashville-based investigative journalist whose writing focuses on the gender-affirming model of transgender healthcare for a liberal audience. Her writing exposes the frivolous scholarship and pseudoscience propping up gender ideology.  She is a self-declared former “social justice warrior” who now describes herself as “politically homeless”. Her educational background is in science communication and biology. 

She has illustrated three award-winning children’s books and writes about gender, pseudoscience, mental health, autism and critical thinking in her Substack, Buttonslives. Her monthly newsletter, Gender Medicine Monthly, reports on the most significant updates related to pediatric gender medicine and the affirmative model of care in lay terms, discussing their significance.

In this episode, Christina talks about her time working as an artist in social justice advocacy and how she became particularly politically active online during the pandemic. Initially aligning with progressive ideologies but ultimately, she began questioning them after facing accusations of racism and experiencing conflicts over jokes she was hired to curate, leading her to delve into critical race theory and eventually gender ideology.

Christina approaches this discussion with an endearing openness about her experiences, including receiving an autism diagnosis later in life and her struggles during adolescence. She even shares a little bit about her relationship with evolutionary biologist, Colin Wright

A recent post shared by Christina comparing her teenage self to her current self.

Sasha and Stella reflect with Christina on the concept of stress perception and resilience, exploring how beliefs, including those related to gender ideology and psychiatric diagnoses, can shape individuals' experiences and behaviors. The discussion highlights the complex interplay between beliefs, stress perception, resilience, and their implications for mental health and identity development.

The episode gets into the impact of upbringing on emotional regulation, the intersection of autism and gender dysphoria, and the lack of informed consent in medical interventions for trans identified individuals.

Christina’s self-described ‘Public Service Announcement’ (which received a long and loud standing ovation) from her presentation at the Genspect Conference in Denver (Nov 2023)

Christina shares insights from her research on detransitioners, highlighting the prevalence of autism traits among this population and the influence of healthcare professionals in affirming transgender identities. They also delve into the debate surrounding the biological basis of gender identity and the need for more critical examination of research in this area.

Resources & Links:

Find Christina Buttons on social media as @buttonslives

Gender Medicine Monthly, newsletter from

The Detransition Survey - Christina Buttons, from Genspect’s Bigger Picture Conference, Denver USA

How Autistic Traits Can Be Mistaken For Gender Dysphoria : As many as 80% of girls with autism are not diagnosed until they reach adulthood, which can cause significant mental health problems and incorrect early diagnoses.

The Bigger Picture Lisbon Conference - Christina is scheduled to present

The Cass Review - Final Report

Christina Buttons Recommends:

Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren't Growing Up, by Abigail Shrier

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Therapy First

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

Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
In this podcast, now in it's fourth year, therapists Stella O'Malley and Sasha Ayad take a deep dive into the psychological and cultural forces impacting the social changes around "gender." Through interviews with researchers, doctors, therapists, parents, detransitioners, and others, Sasha and Stella's podcast is a "must listen" for anyone trying to navigate the current gender landscape. With their sharp analytical minds and deep compassionate hearts, Stella and Sasha have also become known throughout many parent networks as lighthouses in the midst of some very stormy seas. Previous guests include Helen Joyce, Jesse Singal, Leor Sapir, Kathleen Stock, Jamie Reed, Peter Boghossian and more.