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78 — Affirming Reality for Kids with Stephanie Davies-Arai
Episode 7815th July 2022 • Gender: A Wider Lens Podcast • Stella O'Malley & Sasha Ayad
00:00:00 01:09:47

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Stephanie Davies-Arai is the founder and director of Transgender Trend, the leading UK organization calling for evidence-based healthcare for gender dysphoric children and young people and fact-based teaching in schools. She was shortlisted for the John Maddox Prize 2018 for the school’s guide, “Supporting gender diverse and trans-identified students in schools.” She is a communication skills expert, teacher trainer, parent coach, and author of Communicating with Kids. Stephanie was an intervener in the High Court in support of Keira Bell and Mrs. A, who brought a landmark case against the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service. They claim that under-18s are not old enough to consent to treatment with puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. Stephanie was awarded the British Empire Medal as founder of Transgender Trend for services to children in the Queen’s Jubilee Birthday Honours list.

In this discussion, we talk about how adults have always attempted to strike a balance between encouraging creativity and affirming reality for children. Stephanie started noticing a reversal in the parent-child relationship through her research into parenting books and then saw this trend come to life in media stories of trans children and the parents whose job was to facilitate their child’s self-development.


Stephanie is also asked, given her background as an expert in communication with children, how would she want to introduce ideas of sex, gender, orientation, feminism, and media literacy to kids. We also explore how other vulnerable groups and protected categories are shadowed when we fixate disproportionately on gender and sexuality. How does this impact children’s development and sense of self? What happens when we lie to children? Stephanie offers some advice to parents who hope their child’s fixation on one particular thing will resolve (whether it be gender or otherwise). And lastly, we ask Stephanie to make some predictions of what will transpire regarding gender, transition, and education in the near future.


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Extended Notes

  • Stephanie designed her own courses and wrote Communicating with Kids: What Works and What Doesn’t.
  • Parents affirm a child’s reality in life.
  • Based on 1970s TV, Stephanie internalized messages about women and their place in the world.
  • Stephanie feels compelled to act when she sees an injustice.
  • You don’t tell lies to children.
  • A Huffington Post article about trans children and their parents triggered Stephanie to write her first book.
  • In 2014, the BBC released a TV program for kids, named I Am Leo, about a transitioning girl.
  • Stephanie thinks the U.S. was approximately five years ahead of the UK in detransition information.
  • The impact of the pressure of objectification and stereotypes on teens.
  • Feminism is not taught in schools, Identity Politics are.
  • The need to critique organizations that make money from women.
  • Acknowledging gender differences empowers young people to better understand themselves.
  • We can make better decisions if we are aware of the messages we get from our culture.
  • LGBTQ+ groups in schools may pigeonhole kids who just want to be non-conforming or non-conventional.
  • Stephanie examines social contagion in teens.
  • Stephanie receiving the British Empire Medal represents a sea of change.
  • In 5‒10 years, Stephanie believes huge changes will come in schools and clinics.
  • Stephanie describes the many ways girls have been gaslighted in the current educational environment.


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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