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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.
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
Yarhouse writes this as a clinical psychologist and a Christian. Both inform his writing, but it is the former that dominates and in some ways is more helpful. This book helped my understanding of what gender dysphoria is and how complex it is. It made me more sympathetic to people who are gender dysphoric. It also gave me a little reassurance that people are not simply and easily pushed into reassignment surgery. This book also helped me by giving information on some aspects of the transgender issue, such as understanding different people who come under the transgender umbrella, understanding the research on causes of dysphoria, understanding the prevalance (rarity) of true dysphoria and the variety of responses to it. The big disappointment was that the book lacked a clear biblical foundation or a clear biblical conclusion. In fact it lacked a clear conclusion of any sort. The author's commitment to biblical authority was flimsy, both in his formal statement of it and in his failure to make scripture the ground for advice he gave. The book was more like a journey that described the scenery along the way (including some helpful descriptions of the scenery) but without reaching a definable destination. So, I found some aspects of the book helpful, but it is not the book for getting a biblical understanding of gender dysphoria or for getting advice from. It is a book that gives some useful information, but I expect you could get that information elsewhere without having to wade through this (rather repetitious) book.
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