A NEW BOOK is encouraging Christians to accept that people with gender dysphoria ‘could reflect God in a uniquely powerful way.’ In their book, Approaching Gender Dysphoria (Grove Booklets), authors Mark Yarhouse and Julia Sadusky say they want to move away from the ‘approach to ministry that portrays it as the healthy reaching out to the sick’.
They point out that gender dysphoria is likely to emerge between the ages of two and four and although it is ‘quite rare’ they say it is “more likely to be early onset than late onset.” Prof Yarhouse, from Regent University, directs the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity there while Ms Sadusky is the research assistant at the same Institute and is completing her fourth year in the doctoral programme.
They write: “There is value in discovering that persons with gender dysphoria could reflect God in a uniquely powerful way, in and through their particular life. “This witness to Christ’s presence in the present human condition can highlight that God sees each person and is ready to bear the weight of the present cross, even when their pain is invisible to others.”
They argue that the best position is for people to see themselves as “journeying alongside a person (rather than reaching down)” as this can foster conversations that allow fruitful ministry to take place. “Historically, Christian communities have served as a safe house for the marginalized and the forgotten. They are at their best when they do this indiscriminately,” they write. Their book also looks at suggested responses as individual believers, as parents and form the perspective of church ministry. It includes a glossary of terms ranging from Trans, genderqueer and non-binary to Thirdgender, Demifluid and Gendercreative.