Aaron Rabinowitz & Callie Wright || What We Get Wrong About Transgender People

March 2, 2023

Today we welcome Aaron Rabinowitz and Callie Wright. 

Aaron is a lecturer in philosophy at Rutgers University. He hosts the Embrace The Void and Philosophers in Space podcast. He specializes in ethics, metaethics, and problems surrounding AI and personhood. He earned his M.A. in Philosophy from Colorado State University.

Callie is a freelance audio producer and the host of the Queersplaining podcast. They are non-binary trans person.

In this episode, I talk to Aaron and Callie about gender and trans issues. When it comes to transgendered folk, we tend to focus on extreme examples that are far removed from reality. Some people think being transgender is a social contagion, while others reject the reality of gender altogether. Callie shares how transitioning has allowed them to become their most authentic self. Aaron sheds light on the issues of consent, autonomy, identity, and medical ethics. Both Callie and Aaron recognize that specific topics can negatively skew public opinion, which is why addressing misconceptions and highlighting the lived experiences of trans men, women, and non-binary individuals are crucial to the conversation.

Website: voidpod.com & queersplaining.com

Twitter: @ETVPod & @calliegetsit


  • Introducing Callie
  • Introducing Aaron
  • Callie coming out as trans
  • Ideology over science 
  • Transphobia is real
  • Social contagion and moral panic
  • Pushing the anti-trans agenda 
  • “Have a trans child or a dead child”
  • Extreme trans activists
  • The gender critical movement
  • The world operates on gender, not sex
  • What does it feel like to be a trans woman?
  • Subjectivity of gender and identity
  • Why we gatekeep identities
  • Trans people in sports
  • Sex and gender differences
  • Gender-affirming care
  • Puberty blockers and transitioning 
  • Medical ethics and barriers to access
  • Parental consent vs child autonomy
  • There is harm in waiting and seeing
  • Irreversible changes in puberty
  • Teaching gender in school
  • Wokeness is misappropriated
  • Final thoughts

7 Responses to “Aaron Rabinowitz & Callie Wright || What We Get Wrong About Transgender People”

  1. Stefan says:

    Re: What We Get Wrong About Transgender People

    Really interesting discussion of a very complicated issue. Looking forward to hearing the remaining episodes in this series. As someone who went through medical transition myself starting 19 years ago, I have changed my position on this issue over recent years. Many studies have shown that if we leave the kids alone, most will desist and many will become gay, bi or lesbian adults. It’s not just trans people who experience gender dysphoria. Clinicians are, in some instances, medicalizing gender nonconformity / neurodiversity. I hope you will also take the time to include the voices of a few detransitioners in this discussion. Bottom line: we need more longitudinal data. Thanks again.

    • Scott Barry Kaufman says:

      Definitely. Stay tuned this month.

    • J Davis says:

      Are there trans people who desist? Yes. Is it true that a large number of children who say they are trans go on to change their minds? No. This is a persistent and harmful falsehood based on an older set of studies done in the Netherlands that used very questionable methodology. For example, their definition of trans included children who did not say that they felt misgendered. More recent and more rigorous research has found that the vast majority of children who clearly and insistently state that their gender is different from the one they were assigned at birth do not go on to change their minds and preventing them from transitioning actively causes harm. See, for example Temple-Newhook et al. In the International Journal of Transgenderism, 2018

  2. Matt says:

    For clarity, my assumptions about sex/gender stated briefly and shallowly.

    Sexual dimorphism is based on the type of gamete the individual produces. All sexual differentiation is down stream from this fundamental concept. Exceptions to this are based in blind evolutionary mechanics that drive individuals to occupy new niches in the environment.

    The fact that gender exists is based in physical sex differences, how gender is expressed is cultural. Without the physical differences between the sexes gender would not exist as a concept.

    I believe applying gender to individual humans is a category error. Sex applies to individuals not gender. Behaviors, objects, and words that interact and apply to people are gendered, not the people themselves.

    I believe that applying gender is totalizing to the individual. Expressions of gender are a set of societal constructs. Like a political ideology, gender groups elements together as a set erasing individual differences.

    Applying the idea of sex, based in physiology, to the individual retains sex based differences, rights, etcetera while also allowing members of a sex to express gendered attributes of the opposite sex resulting in greater freedom for the individual.

  3. Mary says:

    Hi, first time to your podcast! Thanks to all three of you — host and guests — for your courage to have this conversation publicly. Very interesting. I’m going to keep listening!

  4. Marie says:

    I am finding this series really interesting, and am grateful to hear a more scientific perspective to the trans debate.

    Listening to both of the guests on this episode I was really struck by how little they attempted to consider the perspective of women. Every defence of an argument was based on it being an anti trans perspective of a TERF perspective. The discussion about trans women in sport for example was a clear example. The guests failed to accept that there are some genuine biological differences which is why there are gender categories in sport – they even acknowledge that they lost muscle mass when they started taking oestrogen – which is not consistent with their argument that the distinction in sport is down to misogyny. I’m afraid what I heard coming from both guests was a complete lack of consideration for the concerns among CIS women – by not acknowledging CIS women’s concerns they are colluding with and compounding the division.

    • Cg says:

      I noticed that as well and was disappointed but not surprised. Trans people do get murdered at a high rate, but if we look at raw numbers, women experience so much more violence. It irks me that trans people just don’t seem to care about how this impact women.

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