Can gender identity theory itself create more gender dysphoria?, with Carey Callahan

In this episode of the podcast, I interview Carey Callahan (Twitter) about gender dysphoria, gender identity theory, and transgender topics. Carey is a family therapist who writes about gender dysphoria topics, with an emphasis on healthcare; you can find her writing on For more about her, see the resources at the bottom of this post. In this interview, we discuss topics including:

  • Why it’s so hard to have well meaning discussions about transgender topics and why the emotion can be so high.
  • Disconnects and miscommunications that occur in these discussions that increase perceptions of malice or bigotry even when those aren’t present.
  • How the polarized and high-emotion dynamics on transgender issues are similar to other highly polarized and emotional dynamics on other hot button issues.
  • Common criticisms of gender identity theory.
  • The possibility that gender identity theory itself may be making people more likely to have gender dysphoric symptoms.

See the bottom of this post for other topics and resources. Podcast links:

Other topics discussed include:

  • Is it caring and supportive to avoid discussing whether transitioning is always the best answer for someone or is possible that’s just an avoidance of care and “the easy way out”?
  • How some people conflate the criticizing of gender identity theory wit disrespecting trans people, when those two things are not related (e.g., you can be trans and criticize gender identity theory).
  • The possibility of psychological and environmental factors in gender dysphoria and why it can be perceived as disrespectful to even discuss that, even though those are obviously factors for some people.
  • The role families with more conservative/traditional gender expectations may play in affecting how a child views their traits (e.g., viewing gender as something fairly binary when it’s not).
  • Carey’s recounting of her own story and what factors were present in her being gender dysphoric and deciding to transition.
  • Why it’s reasonable to object to gender identity theory on intellectual grounds, and why that doesn’t make you a bigot.

Related resources: