I am currently reading an advance copy of Emerging Gender Identities: Understanding the Diverse Experiences of Today’s Youth, by Mark Yarhouse and Julia Sadusky. This book is being published by Brazos Press, and it launches in mid-August 2020. I’ll be posting my review on release day, plus some other background and thoughts between now and then.
When I saw a notice on Twitter about the launch team, I took a few days to consider applying. The topic of gender identity has been something I’ve researched periodically since the 1980s – primarily because my own experiences of gender didn’t match with cultural or Christian norms. I’m also connected with family and friends who deal with gender identity, sexuality, and/or intersexual issues.
I hadn’t read a book by Mark Yarhouse before – only occasional excerpts, or comments in passing by or about him on social media. That material left a positive impression. Dr. Yarhouse especially seemed to be appreciated for his researched and reasoned approach to concerns about gender identity and our current culture.
I watched the book trailer from Brazos, where he describes what he covers in the book and why. One of his main purposes is to equip for ministry that is nuanced, measured, and nimble when it comes to connecting with young people and “emerging gender identities” (for instance, pangender, bi-gender, agender, gender creative/expansive).
Check out the trailer on YouTube. Here’s a quote that reflects his thoughtful, balanced approach.
I think all of us come to this conversation with the language that we’re familiar with around sex and gender, and so when someone uses different language and different categories, rather than react to that, I think it’s better to understand how that language has made sense to that person, why they’re drawn to it. It doesn’t mean that by being conversant, you’re agreeing with all of the language and categories, but you’re a little bit more attuned to how that functions for them and what it means for them as you love them well.
The publisher’s page at Brazos Press has a series of endorsement quotes. I found these particularly intriguing for showing kinds of readers interested in this topic in terms of understanding it, living it out, and walking alongside those with concerns.
It also includes a link for a PDF excerpt of Chapter One – which includes a glossary of “Key Terms and Emerging Gender Identities” that introduces the range of categories and vocabulary younger generations are using in reference to gender.