I have a new book recently published by InterVarsity Press Academic on gender dysphoria and gender identity. It is titled Understanding Gender Dysphoria: Navigating Transgender Issues in a Changing Culture. In it I define key terms and explore the experiences of those who are accurately diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria and discuss some of the controversies in prevention and resolution of gender identity conflicts, as well as offer an integrated framework for how Christians might respond.
Here is the outline of the book:
1. Gender Identity, Gender Dysphoria and Appreciating Complexity
2. A Christian Perspective on Gender Dysphoria
3. What Causes Gender Dysphoria?
4. Phenomenology and Prevalence
5. Prevention and Treatment of Gender Dysphoria
6. Toward a Christian Response: At the Level of the Individual
7. Toward a Christian Response: At the Level of the Institution
You can see that much of the book provides background information and contemporary context for understanding gender dysphoria. The book “thickens the plot,” if you will, so that the complexities are more apparent to the reader. Here is the description from IVP Academic:
Few topics are more contested today than gender identity. In the fog of the culture war, complex issues like gender dysphoria are reduced to slogans and sound bites. And while the war rages over language, institutions and political allegiances, transgender individuals are the ones who end up being the casualties.
Mark Yarhouse, an expert in sexual identity and therapy, challenges the church to rise above the political hostilities and listen to people’s stories. In Understanding Gender Dysphoria, Yarhouse offers a Christian perspective on transgender issues that eschews simplistic answers and appreciates the psychological and theological complexity. The result is a book that engages the latest research while remaining pastorally sensitive to the experiences of each person.
In the midst of a tense political climate, Yarhouse calls Christians to come alongside those on the margins and stand with them as they resolve their questions and concerns about gender identity. Understanding Gender Dysphoria is the book we need to navigate these stormy cultural waters.
This is a difficult topic for many people. Evangelical Christians, in particular, are not adequately prepared to meaningfully engage the topic of gender dysphoria today. What interests me most is the opportunity to help individual Christians (pastors, parents, friends) and the church position themselves to help those who are navigating the difficult terrain of gender identity concerns and engage the topic in a more constructive manner.
I was especially grateful to have endorsements from several people who have had a chance to read the book in advance:
“This work is a tour de force. With his unique combination of Christian evangelical theological sophistication, clinical sensitivity and compassion, and scientific acumen and mastery, Yarhouse establishes in this compelling book why he is the most important voice reflecting on the complex challenges of sexuality today.” —Stanton L. Jones, provost and professor of psychology, Wheaton College
“It’s hard to keep up with current words and acronyms for sexuality and gender, much less understand what they really mean. Even more challenging is evaluating and engaging these issues from a Christian perspective. Thank God—literally and truly—for Dr. Mark Yarhouse! Yarhouse articulates a goal many Christians will quickly claim as their own: to rise above political and ideological battles to provide ministry, pastoral support and compassionate care to all persons. Yarhouse helps us begin to put this ideal into practice by explaining gender dysphoria, transgender, and gender normativity and non-normativity, based on stories, professional counseling experience and research, some conducted by him and his graduate students. He treats all persons equally, asking of us all, ‘How does gender permeate our lives—and how should it?’ His voice is clear and serious, his perspective well-informed and studious, and his heart pastoral and concerned for the well-being of individual persons, especially those who seek support and community within Christian churches. If you’ve wondered how Christians and churches can support people with gender dysphoria who are seeking a meaningful story, lifeway and community, read this book!”—Jenell Paris, professor of anthropology, Messiah College
“This book is a must read for pastors, educators and those who want to engage the cultural discussion around human sexuality. Yarhouse is a first-rate scholar, educator and therapist who also loves Jesus and Scripture. He deeply cares for people and the church. His approach to this complex topic is not to tell the reader what to think, but to teach the reader, who then can wisely discern how to apply the information to their particular context. This book educates so that people can lead wisely, pastor compassionately and build community that lives out a great commandment to love God and others.”—Shirley V. Hoogstra, president, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities
“Speaking as a pastor to church leaders, I enthusiastically commend my friend Dr. Mark Yarhouse for his unflinching courage, heartfelt compassion, biblical loyalty and rigorous scholarship in addressing the painfully complex and controversial issue of gender dysphoria. This book is an exquisite gift of understanding that I believe is absolutely essential to the church’s crafting of ministry to hurting people that reflects the grace and love of Jesus. Unwrap and use it as soon as possible!” —Andrew McQuitty, author of Notes from the Valley: A Spiritual Cancer Travelogue
“I deeply respect the work that Mark Yarhouse has done in this field and have benefited greatly from his thinking.” —Bill Hybels, senior pastor, Willow Creek Community Church
“Mark Yarhouse has written yet another important contribution to the church’s discussion about LGBTQ issues, this time focusing specifically on questions related to transgender people. This book is informed by studious attention to the Bible, sound theological reasoning and deep psychological wisdom—all of which is sifted through a compassionate heart that wants to see people experience the deep love of Christ. This book is a must read for any Christian who wants to think Christianly about what it means to be transgender. Mark’s pastoral posture and commitment to biblical truth is a model for every evangelical Christian.”—Preston M. Sprinkle, vice president, Eternity Bible College Boise extension
“Understanding Gender Dysphoria is a deeply practical and timely book. Many of the variables surrounding the transgender community are nuanced and intense, yet completely unknown to the evangelical world. Mark provides helpful working knowledge of key terms, concepts and relevant issues. And with humility and great care he directly addresses how individual Christians and the broader evangelical church can respond. Although this book is academic in nature, it should be required reading for all church leadership. This is my new go-to book for the Marin Foundation’s work with evangelicals on the topic. Mark’s research must be paid attention to.”—Andrew Marin, author of Love Is an Orientation