Everyone experiences feelings of loneliness at some time in our lives.
Your feelings of loneliness may have nothing to do with your sexuality or gender identity but instead be related to family issues, ableism, racism or financial stress, for example. You may feel like no one understands you, that it’s hard to build friendships or form relationships.
Isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness
We can become socially isolated because of our age, due to our disability or because of the pressures of our caring responsibilities, among many other reasons.
There can be specific reasons for feeling isolated: you may be the only trans person you know or the only queer parent in your friendship group. You may be out and proud intersex person but have not yet connected with anyone else your age who is also intersex. You might live in regional area and have few opportunities to connect with other LGBTIQ+ people.
If you feel like this, you are not alone.
Some of us experience social isolation within our relationships or our family.
We may have partners or family members who stop us from seeing our friends. We may come out and be rejected by our partner or family but unable to leave.
You may also be aware of a friend whose partner or family are refusing to let them see you or other friends or family members. This could have happened suddenly or may have occurred over time.
If you are worried of anxious about your friend, consider contact With Respect for advice, support and referrals.
Ways to connect
Being disconnected from your peers can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Making social connections through online and face-to-face social and support groups can be a good way to start building new friendships and relationships within the LGBTIQ communities.
Here are some suggested ways you can connect with others:
- Check out an LGBTIQ+ support group – seek out LGBTIQ support groups both in person and online to increase your network.
- Look for online support – log onto Facebook groups to join by typing in words that describe you and see what happens!
- Get involved in your local community – check out your library and community centre for events.
- Volunteer for LGBTIQ+ organisations: Midsumma Festival, Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Thorn Harbour Health, queerspace and Switchboard all work with volunteers.
- Check out TAFE courses that are being offered and enrol - there are many government subsidised options.
Do you know someone struggling with feelings of Loneliness and Isolation?
Here are some tips on how to connect with them:
- Listen and validate their experience
- Don’t minimise what they are telling you – it is what they feel.
- Trust that they ultimately know what is best for them and try to avoid getting frustrated when they don’t do what you think they should do
- Offer options but don’t advise
- Contact 1800 LGBTIQ for assistance or encourage them to call Q/LifeSwitchboard.