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Stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer, otherwise diverse in their sexuality and/or gender (including asexual, pansexual, demisexual, polysexual, polyamorous, sapiosexual, aromantic, agender and more) or Questioning their sexuality, and/or gender.

Also, LGBT, GLBT, GLB, LGB, GLBTI, LGBTIQQ, LGBTQIA (A is for Asexual) or LGBTI are used.


Gender is a social construct that is generally understood in Australia as being “masculine” and “feminine” or of being a “man”, a “woman”. However, there are a number of Australians who fall outside this ‘binary’. It is important to remember that some populations and communities in Australia have come from societies that traditionally recognise more than two genders. For example, one society in Indonesia recognises five genders. In South Sulawesi, the third largest island of Indonesia, the Bugis society recognises the genders calalai, calabai and Bissu in addition to women and men. In Thailand, several gender categories are recognised beyond woman and man, such as kathoey, phuying praphet song and phet thi sam.

Source: LGBTI Data, 2013

“Gender refers to the economic, social and cultural attributes and opportunities associated with being male or female.”

Source: Transforming health systems: gender and rights in reproductive health. WHO, 2001.

Gender Diverse

An umbrella term used to describe a broad range of non-binary gender identities and/or expressions. This term can be used as an umbrella term similar to trans*, but commonly refers to people who are not transsexual (or identifying as the ‘opposite sex’ to which they were assigned at birth) but do not comply with their traditional gender expectations through their dress, hair, mannerisms, appearance and values and/or identify outside of the gender binary. Many gender diverse people may identify as genderqueer, bigender, transgender, pangender, agender, gender fluid, trans, androgynous, neutrois and others (see www.asexuality.org; www.genderdiversity.org/resources/terminology; http://neutrois.com; www.genderqueer.org.au).


Sex (1) is the physiological make-up of a person. It is commonly expressed as a binary and used to divide people into males and females.


However, in reality, sex is a “complex relationship of genetic, hormonal, morphological, biochemical, and anatomical differences that impact the physiology of the body and the sexual differentiation of the brain. Although everyone is assigned a sex at birth, approximately 2 percent of the population are intersexed and do not fit easily into a dimorphic division of two sexes that are ‘opposite’”.

Source: Lev, AI 2004, Transgender emergence: Therapeutic guidelines for working with gender-variant people and their families, Haworth Press, Binghamton, New York.



Sex (2) is sexual activity or sexual intercourse but can mean something different to everyone. For people with diverse sexuality and gender the meaning of what 'Sex' is can be particularly varied. Generally, oral sex, vaginal sex, mutual masturbation and anal sex are the main activities included in 'Sex'.


Our sense of ourselves, who we are, and our character, culture, values, lifestyle and personality.


“The sense, and continuity of self that develops first as the child differentiates from parents and family and takes a place in society. Neo-Freudian theorist, Erik Erikson, has proposed that there is a crisis of identity during adolescence. It is at this stage of development that a young person searches for an identity, trying out different friendship groups, different lifestyles, different career plans… In Erikson’s view, therefore, identity forms as a result of social interaction, and problems with identity occur if the adolescent feels alienated from society through, for example, [sexuality,] ethnic differences or unemployment.”

Source: Jary & Jary (2000) Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd Ed.

Gender Identity

The label or name one uses to define and identify their gender. One’s sense of being male or female. Our sense of our selves in regards to our gender, gender role, masculinity and/or femininity. The most common gender identities are male and female, however there are many others in the gender diverse community such as genderqueer, trans man, trans woman, transgender, trans, boi, sistergirl, brotherboy, etc.


“the sense of self associated with cultural definitions of masculinity and femininity. Gender identity is not so much acted out as subjectively experienced. It is the psychological internalization of masculine or feminine traits. Gender identity arises out of a complex process of interaction between self and others. The existence of transvestite and transsexual identities indicates that gender is not dependant upon sex alone, and arises from the construction of gender identities.”

Source: Jary & Jary (2000) Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd Ed.


Stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer, or otherwise diverse in their sexuality and/or gender (including asexual, pansexual, demisexual, polysexual, polyamorous, sapiosexual, aromantic, agender and more). Also, LGBT, GLBT, GLB, LGB, GLBTI, LGBTIQ, LGBTQIA (A is for Asexual) or LGBTI are used.

Gender Role

The way we behave under the expectations society has for a person’s self expression, behaviour and appearance based on their biological sex.


“The social expectations arising from conceptions surrounding gender and the behavioural expression of these, including forms of speech, mannerisms, demeanour, dress and gesture. Masculine and feminine ideas are often deemed to be mutually exclusive, and in some societies the role behaviours may be polarized.”

Source: Jary & Jary (2000) Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd Ed.


Sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships. While sexuality can include all of these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed. Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors.

Source: World Health Organization (WHO) Draft working definition, October 2002


An umbrella term including transsexual and transgender.

Sexual Identity

The label or name one uses to define and identify their sexuality. One’s sexual identity does not have to match their sexual behaviors; one may engage in homosexual behaviors, but still identify as heterosexual; one may engage in only lesbian behaviors but identify as bisexual.


A person who identifies as the sex opposite to the one assigned at birth and who may choose to undergo sex affirmation/reassignment surgery.

Sexual Orientation

The direction of one’s sexual and romantic attractions and interests towards members of the same, opposite or both sexes, or all genders. Similar to ‘Sexual Preference’.


An umbrella term used to describe a broad range of non-conforming gender identities and/or expressions. Usually includes all trans people, but some transsexual people and members of the gender diverse populations prefer not to use this term.


Queer is an umbrella term used to refer to the LGBT community. Some people in the LGBT community prefer not to use this term as the history of the word had negative connotations. These days, the term has been embraced and is more about pride and inclusivity.

GenderQueer or Non-binary gender

Can be used as umbrella terms similar to Transgender, but particularly refers to people who are not transsexual but do not conform with traditional gender identities and expectations through their  appearance, mannerisms, body, and/or values. Most people who identify as genderqueer or non-binary don’t feel the gender binary fits for them or that their understanding of their gender is outside of common understandings of being either male or female.


People whose sexual and romantic feelings are primarily for the same sex and who identify primarily with those feelings. In Australia, both men and women identify as gay, however it often refers mainly to homosexual men.


Refers to people whose sense of their gender and/or sex matches the sex they were assigned at birth. Cisgender is the antonym of transgender and is used to label those who's gender is not trans.


Women whose sexual and romantic feelings are primarily for other women and who identify with those feelings.

Gender Variant or Non-conforming

Used to describe a range of people that don’t conform to gender expectations, including genderqueer, transgender, cross-dressing, drag performing, bigender and other gender diverse people.

Bisexual or Bi

Refers to people whose sexual and romantic feelings are for more than one gender and who identify with these feelings. Many people may engage in bisexual behaviours but not identify as bisexual. See also pansexual or omnisexual.


Can mean having both masculine and feminine characteristics, or having neither specifically masculine nor feminine characteristics. Some people who are androgynous may identify as genderqueer, trans* or androgynous.

Pansexual or Omnisexual

Refers to people whose sexual and romantic feelings are for all genders; this rejects the gender binary of male/female and asserts that there are more than two genders or gender identities. ‘Pan’ and ‘Omni’ mean ‘all’. These are inclusive terms that consider the gender diverse community.


Someone who crossdresses (previosuly known as a transvestite) is a person who gets personal satisfaction and piece of mind by wearing the clothing of the opposite sex. This usually refers to men dressing in women's clothing.

Crossdressing is not directly related to sexual orientation - most crossdressers are heterosexual men. The proportion of crossdressers that are gay men is similar to the proportion of the general population of men that are gay.


Someone whose sexual identity is asexual may lack interest in or desire for sex. They may or may not engage in sexual activity and they may not experience sexual arousal at all.


Drag Queen

Drag Queens are men who dress and wear makeup, wigs etc. to impersonate a woman - it is a performance for entertainment. The men who 'do drag' do not want to 'be' a woman, they are performing an exaggerated feminine persona. Famous Australian Drag Queens include Dame Edna Everage, Vanessa Wagner and the characters in the movie 'Pricilla Queen of the Dessert'.


People whose sexual and romantic feelings are primarily for the same sex and who identify primarily with those feelings. People who feel this way often identify as gay or lesbian.

Drag King

Drag Kings are usually women who dress and wear makeup, facial hair etc. to impersonate a man - it is a performance for entertainment. The people who 'do drag' do not necessarily want to 'be' a man, they are performing an exaggerated masculine persona.

Heterosexual & Straight

People whose sexual and romantic feelings are primarily for the opposite sex and who identify primarily with those feelings.


Intersex is a term that relates to a range of congenital physical traits or variations that lie between ideals of male and female. Intersex people are born with physical, hormonal or genetic features that are neither wholly female nor wholly male; or a combination of female and male; or neither female nor male.


Many forms of intersex exist; it is a spectrum or umbrella term, rather than a single category. Intersex differences may be apparent at birth. Some common intersex variations are diagnosed prenatally. Some intersex traits become apparent at puberty, or when trying to conceive, or through random chance.


The lowest popular statistic for how many intersex people there are is around 1 in 2,000 people (.05% of births) but a more likely figure is closer to 1.7%. This makes intersex differences about as common as red hair.  www.oii.org.au

Coming Out

This can mean something different to everyone. Coming out to yourself has to do with developing an awareness that you are LGBTQ. Coming out to others involves disclosing your LGBTQ identity. Coming out to others may be an ongoing process throughout life, though when it’s talked about, for example, as “when did you come out?” it refers to when you first disclosed your LGBTQ identity to family and friends. Some people choose to come out only to specific people in their life.

Sistergirls and Brotherboys

Brotherboys and Sistergirls are unique to Indigenous culture in Australia. Brotherboys and Sistergirls are trans people who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and have a strong sense of their cultural identity.


Affectionate terms originally used between Aboriginal women and men reflecting kinship, the usage of sistergirl and brotherboy terminology is clearly influenced by the diversity of communities, and will often be defined within a community depending on geographical location. Within the sistergirl and brotherboy communities, a sistergirl is an individual assigned male at birth who has a female spirit and a brotherboy is an individual assigned female at birth who has a male spirit.

Acknowledgement of source: http://sistersandbrothersnt.com


The social expectations or belief that heterosexuality is more 'normal' or superior to other kinds of sexualities and that there are only two sexes and that gender always correlates to our sex assigned at birth.


For individuals in the Trans community, transitioning is the process of changing their body and presentation, from the sex they were assigned at birth, to match their own sense of gender and sex. This can involve some or all of the following: change of pronouns (she, they, he etc.), gender affirming dress, hormone therapy, sex affirmation surgeries, name change, voice training, legal gender recognition and other gender affirmation therapies and identity documentation changes. Transitioning can take many years and is a different process for everyone - there is no right or wrong way to transition.


An individual’s or society’s misunderstanding, fear, ignorance of, or prejudice against gay, lesbian and/or bisexual people. ‘Homophobia’ is also used here as an umbrella term to include transphobia, biphobia and any prejudice or discrimination against LGBTIQ people or people assumed to be LGBTIQ.


Stands for Sexually Transmitted Infection (used to be called STD/ Sexually Transmitted Disease). Check out our Sexual Health Info sheet, or FPWA Sexual Health Services website www.fpwa.org.au.


An individual’s or society’s misunderstanding, fear, ignorance of, or prejudice against people who experience transsexualism or identify as Trans.


Stands for Blood-Borne Virus. Includes HIV, Hepatitis C & Hepatitis B.


An individual’s or society’s misunderstanding, fear, ignorance of, or prejudice against bisexual and/or pansexual people.


Stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is infectious and can be transmitted from one person to another when ALL of the following are present;

  1. HIV+ person

  2. There is a mode of transmission (eg. sharing injecting equipment, having unsafe penetrative sex)

  3. There is a point of entry into the person being infected’s blood stream (eg. a cut, a micro-abrasion.)

  4. There is infectious blood, seminal fluid (semen & pre-cum), vaginal fluid or breast milk present and it enters the point of entry.

Check out the WA AIDS Council’s website www.waaids.com for more info.

FBI Model

The FBI Model is a model for understanding diverse sexuality. It breaks sexuality down into three aspects: Feelings/fantasies, Behaviour & Identity. Each of these aspects exist on a continuum (For more information go to the Sexuality Info Page);




same gender --------------------------- opposite gender






same gender --------------------------- opposite gender






Gay/Lesbian ---------------------------- straight



Stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. AIDS is a set of illnesses, sometimes called opportunistic infections, which affect people with advanced HIV. AIDS cannot be transmitted as it is not BBV; only HIV can be transmitted. Someone can only get AIDS if they are HIV positive.


Check out the WA AIDS Council’s website www.waaids.com for more info.


Men who have Sex with Men. This is an inclusive term that includes gay and bisexual men, but most importantly, includes men who do not identify as gay, bi or homosexual, but are engaging in same sex sexual behaviour (these men may be straight and in opposite sex relationships too). This term has been developed as this group of men are particularly difficult to reach for health promotion aimed at preventing HIV/AIDS as their same sex sexual relations are so hidden and do not correlate with their sexual identity.