Sad News

Despite knowing this news was coming, it’s still sad to get it.

Gianna Israel passed away last night after going into a coma last week. She had been very ill for months, and at the very least, she has found relief from her suffering.

I’d like to dedicate last night’s panel to Gianna.

If you don’t know much about her, she is the co-author of Transgender Care. She wrote numerous essays about various aspects of transgender life. She conducted interviews and wrote a column for

She was a giving, generous, insightful spirit, and a group of us who were meant to contribute to her next book are working to see that book happen despite her death.

She overcame so much adversity to be who she was, and then turned around and helped others the minute she could – and even sometimes when she couldn’t.

Rest in peace, Gianna. You did good.

gianna israel

10 Replies to “Sad News”

  1. Gianna was one of the early (and very knowledgable) contributors to Transgen, back when that was the premier netsite for discoursive transfolk. She didn’t say a whole lot, but she was quite impressive when she did have something to say.

    I read “Transgender Care” when it first came out and was very impressed by it. Gianna asked me to do a review of it, which I was happy to do; I praised it for its trans-centric viewpoint in recommendations and its multi-focus approach.

    She wanted me to do a trans-resources contribution to her new book, but I really couldn’t think of much I personally know of in today’s world other than net resources such as, well, (en)Gender.

  2. I too am very saddened by her passing. When I could not find any help in my hometown, she helped me into beginning my transition. Subsequently, when I moved to San Francisco, I got to meet her but she was already very ill at that time.

    She will be missed.

  3. I had the distinct pleasure of working with Gianna as editor on several manuscript projects she developed for the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy and the Journal of GLBT Family Studies. In the course of the many interactions that took place on these projects via email and phone, a relationship developed that is unique among people working on academic and research related projects such as these.

    Gianna was a remarkable person and a teacher. She is up there with the class of people who had the courage and audacity to begin the Gay Rights movement at the Stonewall Inn as evidenced with how she managed to survive the many adversities she encountered in her struggles to be the authentic person she became. She set an example for others through her own life and how she lived each day. One of the things about her many people also remember is her incredible sense of playfulness and humor that showed everyone how to rise above the irrationalities that life hands us all.

    I believe our wish for her is that she is now on a different path where there will be acceptance, honor, and love that she may not have always found here on this planet.

  4. It was the 1990’s and Dessert Storm 1 was starting to whane in the desserts of Iraq, I had just returned from technical school after spending two weeks as a reserve Air Force Security Police Officer in Texas.

    As I sat in my kitchen, I had, clutched in my hands was a tattered “Newsweek” article about Crossdressing (Crossroads) and an “800” number to call. I finally got the nerve to call the hotline and managed to get in touch with Gianna.

    I talked to Gianna in those early days and she told me to come up to her place near the SF City Hall for a 4-week trial session, just to see if I wanted to continue. Well little did I realize that I was in the midst of a great teacher.

    Her compassion and professionalism, coupled with an easy to talk to manner, soon help me settle down. During our month together in her home-office along with few of the local Transgendered women who stopped by, gave me the courage to continue on a course that now I would call successful.

    I stopped coming up to the city, because of the long drive. Gianna found a therapist for me in our area, and soon I forgot all about Gianna but still remembered her.

    Years later, I called Gianna about an issue that I wanted clarified. I emailed her and asked her if she remembered the tall shy, Filipina woman, who was quite insecure about being a crossdresser, well after all of these years, she remembered me and the name I went by.

    Now it is February 2006, 16 years into the future. I think Gianna would be proud to know the changes that occurred to me because I had met her. I think she would be proud to know, I am now successfully working as a TS Filipina woman, for a small TV station, a sexual assault counselor, and a Commissioner for our County.

    Gianna, I am going to miss you and the counsel you provided this poor awkward Filipina into taking that first fateful step on her journey through the Gender highway.

  5. I am still saddened by her passing. What is particularly sad is that I have just recently blossomed into that “ordinary woman” she promised I would become. (She always had a caveat, “In your case, Nicole…not so ordinary.”

    I recently spoke with some of the folks at the San Francisco Human Rights Commission about getting the ball rolling for some type of memorial to Gianna. If anyone has ideas or would like to contribute to this not yet started project, please e-mail me:

  6. i’m still sad about her passing, too, nicole. i made a donation in her memory recently to CLAGS, for lack of being able to DO anything.

  7. I’m saddened to read about the passing of Gianna.

    About 10 years ago, my spouse and I started making trips to S.F. every week to visit Gianna. She was the first “real person” I talked with about who I am, besides Trish. The relationship with Gianna grew to more than just counselor/patient, even though we didn’t see one another often.

    As the years went by, one or the other would write “just to keep in touch”. Sadly, the last time I saw her was 3 years ago, just before my trip to Montreal.

    Dear Lady, you are missed.

  8. Indeed it is sad to know about Gianna’s passing away. I just very recently discovered her and her site. Actually, just two days ago, through Helen’s own site.
    For me, living in Mexico, with very limited information and TG resources, and about to transition, it was a great discovery and a sensitive, caring and thoughtful source. It really is important to preserve her lifework and be able to pass it on to our community. I think doing this and furthering her effort to serve and support her kind, our kind, is the best way to honor her memory. Please, let me know if it is possible that I translate her writings into spanish and how can this be accomplished, so our latin TG community is able to get in touch with her through her wisdom. Actually, I would very much like to know if Helen would like to see her own brilliant and loving work, My Husband Betty, in spanish. This I can happily do on my free time at a very slow pace and with no personal material gain in mind.

    My prayings and love to Gianna and all of those who strive to help and serve their fellow human beings. May all be blessed.

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