PPP016: Gender, Identity and Being Your Authentic Self with Dr Madeline Fernbach

Something to get you thinking today. I'm talking to Dr Madeline Fernbach, Australian Clinical Psychologist with expertise and a passion for working with the transgender and gender fluid community.

Madeline is fascinated by identity and the way people see themselves. She explains in this episode that during her awkward middle teenage years she drifted at the fringes of many social groups. Without a fixed groups of friend until later in her life she developed an interest in what makes humans belong - or not belong - in groups.

This is interest drove her to complete a PhD on the topic, after which she began work at the Australian Research Centre for Sex, Health And Society at Latrobe University. Throughout her career she has been involved in sexual health and identity research, and in the last five years these interests have coalesced, leading her to specialise in supporting the transgender community.

She says, 'The best part of my job is talking about identity and providing support so that people can take control of their lives in ways that are consistent with who they are.'

In this episode Madeline and I discuss:

  • What identity is and how it relates to gender.

  • Social identity theory and the sense of self we get from the groups we belong to.

  • The importance of authenticity for our wellbeing.

  • How our mental health is affected when there is a gap between our public and private selves.

  • The Genderbread Person. What is it and how does it help us to understand the many facets of gender?

  • The fascinating, complex nature of gender and how we express it.

  • Madeline's tips for individuals and families grappling with gender and identity.

This is a really thoughtful, insightful and frank interview that might get you thinking about your identity, your personal and public personas and what it means to you to live a truly authentic life. 

Download Madeline’s key points about Gender, Identity and Our Well-being

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