As the therapist Sasha Ayad says, “no-one is just a walking gender identity”.
Yet many children and young adults are investing huge amounts of stock in their transgender or non-binary identities. The stakes feel high: often, medical transition seems to become a panacea, and fixation and hyper-rumination ensue.
Many clinicians are deeply concerned that these vulnerable young people are being funnelled towards a singular explanation for their distress. In reality, life is more complex. Comorbidities such as ASD, ADHD, eating disorders, depression and anxiety each deserve their own analysis: so do trauma, bullying and internet use.
Around the world, countries are reappraising how they deal with gender-questioning youth. As jurisdictions revisit their treatment protocols, it’s becoming clear that the new cohort of trans-identified adolescents and young adults is little understood, leaving those who work in healthcare in a precarious position.
We wish to support clinicians by providing a deeper level of knowledge about gender issues. On this page, you will find useful resources, links to helpful organisations, and tailored guidance for healthcare workers. We believe this will assist you in developing a better understanding of what gender means in today’s context.
Genspect Brief Guidance
Our Genspect Brief Guidance for clinicians has been drawn up in consultation with a range of professional healthcare workers, including therapists, doctors and mental health workers, with particular input from those who work with gender-questioning kids.
We believe that gender-related healthcare is often put in its own silo, as though it were unrelated to other health matters. We also believe this to be a mistake: clinicians should not be frightened of gender issues, and should feel able to deal with them as part of their normal range of practice. With that in mind, we hope that our guidance helps to demystify some of the complex aspects of transgender identification.
We created our sister website, Stats for Gender, to improve the accessibility of high-quality, peer-reviewed data pertaining to trans issues.
Each topic is easily displayed with a simple click: from demographics and DSDs to comorbidities and neurodivergence.
Stats for Gender gives you findings from the latest cutting-edge research, ensuring that you are up to date with the science as it stands.
Ever wondered what the pioneers of gender healthcare really think?
Genspect is proud to sponsor “Gender: A Wider Lens”, the podcast that’s leading the world towards a more expansive and thoughtful view of gender issues. The Wider Lens’ recent “Pioneers” series gathers in one place some of the most influential figures from transgender medicine – and asks them the tough questions you really want answered.
Listen to each episode using the audio player below, or scroll down to access all the “Gender: A Wider Lens” episodes.
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.
* We are sponsored by ReIME and Genspect.
Rethink Identity Medicine Ethics (ReIME) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving long term care for gender variant individuals. To learn more, visit https://rethinkime.org/
Genspect is an international alliance of parent and professional groups whose aim is to advocate for parents of gender-questioning children and young people. Parents are concerned that their kids are not receiving appropriate treatment and support; many do not feel free to speak out about their concerns.
To learn more, visit https://genspect.org/
We have completed eleven interviews and today we analyze the second half of our Pioneers Series. Stella and I discuss the psychological and emotional impact of some recent interviews. We review the shocking discussions we’ve had with several of our guests and reflect on the flawed Dutch Protocol, which is often held up as the gold standard in childhood dysphoria medical treatment. Dr. Anne Lawrence’s reflections on Autogynephilia and the extreme measures she feels some might take are discussed in the context of the Dutch researcher’s interview. We also think back about the role Az Hakeem’s groups will play when we examine this period in hindsight, years down the line. Perhaps Susan Bradley is right about ASD being a large explanatory factor in understanding gender dysphoria more broadly. We also look at the Samoan Prime Minister’s response to the Olympic Weightlifting competition: arguably the leaders of integrating male femininity into their society, the Samonas had sharp words for the Pacific Games Council’s admission of trans MtF lifter, Laurel Hubbard, in competing against two Samoan women.
We’re wrapping up this season and we’ll be returning to our regular weekly programs with our next episode on May 20th. If you are a Patron, thank you! And don’t fret: we’ll continue recording our weekly Q&As and posting them on Patreon. Thanks for listening!
- Stella and Sasha, being therapists, naturally ask questions to gain understanding of one’s thinking. They talk about the psychological and emotional toll this series had on them.
- They first analyze their conversation with Thomas Steensma and Annelou de Vries. Sasha shares what stood out to her.
- Stella also touches on her thoughts and why she sees avoidance tactics as anti-psychological.
- They explain what the gender dysphoria scale is all about.
- The entire premise of the puberty blockers experiment is based on the so-called success of the gender dysphoria scale. They both share their disagreements with these methods.
- Sasha talks about the unethical assumptions made with their studies.
- They move on to analyze their conversation with Anne Lawrence and how both their mouths dropped when she talked about castration.
- Stella asks why obsession is not being brought into this rather than just focusing on it as a gender identity topic.
- Sasha shares her thoughts about the dismissive counseling she has noticed in general.
- They both talk about their understanding of the depth of Anne’s suffering through her experience.
- Sasha evaluates Anne’s actions and responses as an obsession to a rejection of a body part, which is common in most Aspy people.
- Stella thinks there is still so much to be done on autistic diagnosis brainwork and she is looking forward to the next 15‒20 years.
- Everyone has a very high regard for the Dutch model, implying that they are being very careful but they both disagree.
- Sasha recalls how Steensma and de Vries may have perceived them as activists in their line of questioning.
- Stella and Sasha share more feedback about the Dutch study if they truly wanted it to be neutral and inclusive.
- What if the whole premise of the gender dysphoria scale is flawed? Sasha asks in retrospect.
- We shouldn’t really change something unless we have a really clear understanding of what the current state of affairs is. Stella reflects on this against puberty blockers.
- They share how off-putting it was for them to talk about the human body in a flippant manner.
- What if Jazz Jennings was put on this gender dysphoria scale? Stella and Sasha talk about their disappointment further.
- Stella mentions Az Hakim and how she admires his approach vs. the rigid coldness of the so-called experts.
- Psychotherapy vs. Bodily Autonomy. Sasha compares the difference between their approach and their guests in this series.
- Psychology is very powerful and Sasha believes that we have a lot of opportunities to make our own future regardless of transitions.
- Stella believes the truth is the best way and there can be real merit in having people of all different types be part of therapy circles in these studies.
- They also talk about Paul Vascher and how he has shown them a community that has managed to integrate gender nonconformity.
- The difference in Samoa is that they don’t medicalize gender identity which makes the levels of gender dysphoria much lower.
- Medical model vs. developmental model. They exchange thoughts on this further.
- They also share their thoughts about the Samoan Prime Minister’s statement about the Pacific Games Lifting.
- Stella and Sasha talk about taking some time off and a bit of what they plan to do when they come back!
For more about our show: Linktr.ee/WiderLensPod
The healthcare industry has failed young people. But there’s a way to make amends.
Growing numbers of trans people are choosing to detransition. Yet more are questioning the level of healthcare they received, and while they may not wish to re-enter the same medical system that let them down, they are certainly disenchanted by their own transition.
On March 12th, 2022, Genspect hosted a Detrans Awareness Day webinar, where detransitioners could speak about their own experiences, in their own words. You can watch the entire event here:
Hearing these testimonies, we decided to prioritise those who have been so badly let down by the healthcare system. So we launched Beyond Transition, a service designed to meet the needs of this under-resourced community.
If you would like to repair some of the damage that the modern healthcare industry has done to young people questioning their gender, you can get involved. We’ll be rolling out initiatives to provide support to detransitioners and others negatively affected by medical transition.
We’d like as many therapists and clinicians as possible to be involved. Click below to learn more about this project, or email us to offer your services.
Listening to parents’ voices
Most parents are loving and engaged people. They want the best for their kids – not just today, or next year, but for the rest of their lives. When they raise concerns about medicalisation, those concerns should be given a fair hearing.
We do not believe that parents should be cut out of decision-making processes regarding their own children, except in the mercifully small number of cases where state agencies have had to intervene to protect children from physical neglect and abuse.
We believe that parents are wrongly being sidelined in their own kids’ lives, and that clinicians should be sure to include them wherever possible. Please take a moment to look over the resources below, which will give you a flavour of the loving and engaged parents we represent.
Our sister website Genspect Unheard provides a space where parents can speak about how gender issues have impacted their families. We wanted to create a platform where mothers and fathers could talk candidly, in their own words, about the situation they and their kids are facing – and we believe these parents have a right to be heard.
You can also read testimonies from parents around the world who have contacted Genspect. These powerful accounts demonstrate the need to include parents in decisions about their kids’ welfare, rather than consigning them to walk-on parts in their own family lives.
Become part of our movement.
In many different countries, therapists, doctors and mental health practitioners are coming to realise that there’s so much more to learn about transgender identities – and that there’s much to be said for joining forces with other professionals in similar positions.
By joining us, you’ll receive email updates, and advance notice of any upcoming events. You’ll also have the chance to subscribe to our online Community Forum, where you can meet people from all walks of life who share your outlook.
Working with other organisations from healthcare and beyond, we are building a global movement to improve the quality of treatment for young people who are questioning their gender. We’d love you to be part of it.
Also, be sure to follow us on social media: we’re available on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
In addition to the above, we offer a range of resources you may find useful in your professional practice.
Our list of written resources ranges from key peer-reviewed papers to media articles and self-help sections – plus a couple of our own resources, too.
On November the 20th, Genspect held a conference on Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria, or ‘ROGD’. This event united groundbreaking professionals at the heart of the debate around gender, and also included a powerful contribution from a parent campaigner who is working to raise awareness about ROGD.
From Abigail Shrier and Debra Soh to Kathleen Stock and Helen Joyce, we’ve curated a small library of recommended books which we believe can elucidate this complex topic. We also recommend a couple of kids’ books, bringing a positive message about bodily self-acceptance.
As the world around us shifts, content-makers are noticing – and responding. Each of the documentaries we recommend provides its own unique view of what is happening to today’s adolescents.
The ever-shifting language of gender identity can be hard to keep up with. In many cases, words and phrases can seem like “poison pills”, deliberately engineered to favour a highly ideological view of gender and identity. Our Glossary lists the terms you need to know, so you don’t get caught off-guard.
Genspect has an ongoing project to map the laws which apply in your country or state. Our Local Laws Project spells out the key pieces of legislation which could affect the services and provisions you or your employer are required to offer.
We work with several other organisations, including Canadian Gender Report, dsdfamilies, GCCAN, GDA, Gender Health Query, GETA, ICGDR, La Petite Sirène, ReIME, SEGM, Sex Matters and Thoughtful Therapists. See a full list of groups you may find helpful on our Groups page.