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Gianna Israel Gender Library

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Self

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Transgenders Receive $95 Million

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Abusing Your Inner Child

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Dealing with Isolation

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Gender Birthdays

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Balance

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Primary Feelings

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Names

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Why Bother Coming Out?

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Embarrassment & Shame

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Perseverance

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First Time Experiences

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Gender Mirrors

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Suicidal Feelings

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Competitiveness

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Healthy Sex Drive

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When Hope is Lost

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Managing Fear

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Stealth or Storm?

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Tired

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Regrets

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Fantasy (1)

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Fantasy (2)

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Anger

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Transgender Issues & Depression

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Being Your Own Star!

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Guilt

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Family

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Transition

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Living

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Special Focus

Gianna Israel Gender Library

Dealing With Isolation

Have you ever felt that you don't fit in due to having a transgender identity? If yes, then it might be wise to assess whether this is only any occasional occurrence or if isolation is having a more significant impact on your functioning and enjoyment of life.

It is healthy and ordinary to sense a differentness from others, particularly non-transgender folks. It's also common, though somewhat more discomforting, to recognize that some aspects of your life may be impossible for others to understand. Where matters become considerably more concerning is when you feel that very few aspects of your life relate to other people's experiences. Or, you feel so different you don't feel human.

To truly understand isolation, it helps to distinguish between solitude and aloneness. Solitude is the peace and quiet a person seeks after a stressful day at work. Aloneness, within the context of being isolated, is what occurs when interacting with others feels frightening, dissatisfying or unfulfilling.

It's pretty easy to tell when someone feels isolated. Such a person regularly avoids forming friendships, and may not even feel worthy relationships. Accepting invitations to social events, dinner or parties generally does not occur. Expressing personal beliefs feels foreign, even among friends and family. It is also common for people to use a work addiction or chaotic, unhealthy relationships to mask isolation.

It is important to recognize that isolation can be both a symptom as well as cause of ongoing depression. If you have irregularities of mood, sleeping and eating, or suspect you are depressed, it would be wise to speak to a healthcare professional. Treating the depression could help toward resolving the sense of isolation that you feel.

Whether or not related to depression, it is critical to know that learned or recurrent behavior plays a role with isolation. Frequently people do not start out in life disinterested in social contact. One generally becomes alienated to it through painful experiences with others or disrupted self-confidence.

Does knowing the preceding information mean that resolving isolation, particularly long-term aloneness, is going to come without effort? Probably not. It helps to recognize that by the time isolation becomes problematic for a person, it usually has significantly influenced a person's ability to feel capable of resolving it.

For most individuals resolving isolation comes with a gradual, concerted effort. This includes reintroducing social interaction and communication into the person's life. Bear in mind that each step forward is worth the effort at improving your quality of life. After all, no one should have to feel alone forever.


GENDER ARTICLES. This educational column authored by Gianna E. Israel is regularly featured on the 3rd Monday of each month in Tg-Forum, the Internet's most up-to-date, weekly Transgender Magazine <http://www.tgforum.com/>. Several weeks later each article is forwarded to Usenet and AOL <Keyword TCF>. Each column has been written to inspire contemplation and dialogue. Columns may be reprinted in any medium insofar as each article, its introduction, and the author's contact information remains unaltered.

GIANNA E. ISRAEL provides nationwide telephone consultation, individual & relationship counseling, evaluations and referrals. She is principal author of the Transgender Care (Temple University / in press 1997). She also writes Transgender Tapestry's "Ask Gianna" column; is an AEGIS board member and HBIGDA member.She can be contacted at (415) 558-8058, at P.O. Box 424447 San Francisco, CA 94142, or via e-mail at Gianna@counselsuite.com.


Copyright © 2001 by Diane Wilson. All rights reserved.