Understanding Gender Dysphoria: Navigating Transgender Issues in a Changing Culture
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Understanding Gender Dysphoria: Navigating Transgender Issues in a Changing Culture

IVP Academic / 2015 / Paperback

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Product Description

A helpful introduction on issues related gender identity

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.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 208
Vendor: IVP Academic
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0830828591
ISBN-13: 9780830828593
Series: Christian Association for Psychological Studies Books

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Author Bio

Mark Yarhouse (PsyD, Wheaton College) is the Hughes Endowed Chair and professor of psychology at Regent University where he directs the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity and is a core faculty member in the doctoral program in clinical psychology. A licensed clinical psychologist, he practices privately in the Virginia Beach area, providing individual, couples, family and group counseling.

Yarhouse has published over eighty peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and is author or coauthor of several books, including Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation, Modern Psychopathologies, Understanding Sexual Identity: A Resource for Youth Ministers, Sexuality and Sex Therapy and Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Psychology and Theology and Christian Counseling Today and has served as an ad hoc reviewer with Journal of Homosexuality.

Endorsements

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

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

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 the great commandment to love God and others.
-Shirley V. Hoogstra,
president, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities

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

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

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

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

Editorial Reviews

"Could the timing be better for a book to be released on the topic of gender dysphoria? Were you aware of this term a year ago and what it means? Whatever you knew or didn't know then, now you have an excellent resource in Mark Yarhouse's most recent work on the topic. He has written extensively on sexuality and gender, and in this book her offers a scholarly look at the issue of gender dysphoria. . . . From the first to the final page, Mark Yarhouse writes to inform, educate and challenge readers to be aware and sensitive to this demographic. . . . I cannot think of a more important time than the present to be gathering information on this topic, to help shape your position, refine it or perhaps change it. . . . Yarhouse has presented a thoughtful, scholarly work on this current cultural issue. I cannot stress strongly enough that this book should be read and available to every ministering person what has opportunity to work with people—the church!"
"Mark Yarhouse is knowledgeable, instructive and compassionate. These attributes are helpful for those working through the topic of gender dysphoria and also to those of us who are new to this conversation. We may not all agree with his final suggestions, but it is worth taking the time to consider the content of this text."
"Never losing touch with the human stories that underlie any scientific or clinical discussion of the issue of gender identity, Yarhouse (psychology, Regent Univ.) has written a timely, often trenchant account of the complex cultural and psychological terrain in which the issues of gender dysphoria and transgender circulate. . . . Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers."
"Mark Yarhouse's Understanding Gender Dysphoria: Navigating Transgender Issues in a Changing Culture is a book that has the potential to change the conversation surrounding transgender, genderqueer and gender non-conforming people and our role in the church. Mark writes from a fairly conservative evangelical perspective, but there is one critical difference between his approach and the approach I usually see from conservative writers: Mark has actually listened to trans people with a view to understanding, and his goal is to help churches provide pastoral care to a group that has traditionally been stigmatized and marginalized."
" Understanding Gender Dysphoria is a valuable work for those wishing to engage with transgender issues. It doesn't answer every question that might come up, but it does give readers the tools to come up with their own answers while doing so in a loving and Christian way."
"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."

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  1. Andy Le Peau
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Informative, Pastoral, Human, Balanced
    June 6, 2017
    Andy Le Peau
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    It seems obligatory these days to begin any discussion of sex and society with autobiography. So here goes. I'm an old, white, heterosexual male who basically doesn't have a clue when it comes to understanding gender dysphoria. (But I guess the second half of that sentence was redundant with the first half.) That's why I appreciated psychologist Mark Yarhouse's book so much.

    First, Understanding Gender Dysphoria is just very informative. With dozens of terms being used these days (transgender, cisgender, gender bending, cross-dressing, third gender, genderfluid, genderqueer, intersex and many more) it is quite confusing. Step by step Yarhouse unravels what all these mean, recognizing that definitions are constantly in flux with new terms seemingly being added weekly.

    In addition, Yarhouse keeps the humanity of such people in the forefront. He doesn't turn them into projects or causes. They are simply people we should have sympathy with. Why? Because of the distress they feel due to their sense of incongruence between their psychological or emotional gender identities on the one hand and their biological sex on the other.

    We need to have open, reasoned public discussions on the issues involved. But that's not what this book is primarily about. It's about people, and how we can and should engage them compassionately and pastorally. Yarhouse suggests that most transgender people don't choose to have this kind of distress. They just do. And no one knows why--neither neuroscientists, psychologists, geneticists nor sociologists. Theologically we know none of us is free from the effects of the Fall. We have all sinned and been sinned against. The world and we who live in it are not as God intended. That's our starting point.

    From there Yarhouse offers an immensely helpful threefold framework. First is the integrity framework which emphasizes the givenness of maleness and femaleness biologically. Next is the disability framework which tells us that in a fallen world people will have non-moral mental health issues (anorexia, depression, schizophrenia) with a mix of social, psychological and biological factors contributing in different degrees. We should address those conditions with compassion.

    Third is the diversity framework which has two forms. The strong form is taken by activists (a minority of transgender people) who believe sex and gender have no meaning in society and should be deconstructed. Adherents of the weak form don't want to eradicate gender but simply seek a place in society where their difference can be honored and celebrated.

    Each of these has their strengths and weaknesses, says Yarhouse. He points us toward the goal of combining the best of all of these into an integrated framework. Such a framework would affirm the integrity of the differences between the sexes, be guided by compassion as we help people manage their gender dysphoria, and affirm the opportunity for such people to have meaning, identity and a sense of community.

    As Yarhouse writes, "I know many people who are navigating gender identity concerns who love Jesus and are desperately seeking to honor him. I think it would be a mistake to see these individuals as rebellious (as a group) or as projects. . . . The Christian community faces a unique challenge in rising above the culture wars . . . as we think about how to engage both the broader culture and the individual who is navigating gender identity questions" (pp. 25, 100). His book is a tremendous resource in meeting those challenges.
  2. Identity Crisis
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Transgender
    September 30, 2015
    Identity Crisis
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    Very informative on the subject, better than any other book I have read on this matter. If you want to know about transgender and all items pertaining thereto this is an excellent book.
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