Androgynous can mean having both masculine and feminine characteristics, or having neither specifically masculine nor feminine characteristics. Can be used as an identity term or to describe a person’s appearance.
Asexual refers to someone who does not experience sexual attraction and who may lack interest in or desire for sex.
Aromantic refers to a person who does not experience romantic attraction or feelings and who may lack interest in romantic relationships.
Bisexual refers to people whose sexual and romantic feelings are for more than one gender.
Biphobia the fear of or intolerance towards people who identify as bisexual, pansexual or otherwise same gender attracted.
A cisgender person is someone whose gender identity is the same as their sex assigned at birth. This term is used to describe people who aren’t transgender.
Coming out can mean something different to everyone. Coming out to yourself has to do with developing an awareness that you are LGBTIQ. Coming out to others involves disclosing your LGBTIQ 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 LGBTIQ identity to family and friends. Some people choose to come out only to specific people in their life.
Demisexual refers to people who don’t experience sexual attraction until they have formed a close emotional connection with someone.
Gay people are those whose sexual and romantic feelings are for the same gender. Can refer to men or women.
Gender refers to the socially constructed characteristics of women and men – such as norms, roles and relationships of and between groups of women and men. It varies from society to society and can be changed. (World Health Organisation).
Gender diverse is an umbrella term that can refer to all forms of gender identity and gender expression and includes trans and non-binary gender identities and/or expressions.
Gender identity is the socially constructed and contextual understanding and identification of oneself as a man, a woman, or another gender outside this binary. Gender identity is also the label or name one uses to define and identify their gender.
Gender non-conforming describes a range of people and styles of gender expression which do not conform to society’s expectations for a given gender.
Genderqueer is a gender identity which is neither exclusively male nor exclusively female.
Heterosexual/straight refers to people whose sexual and romantic feelings are for a different gender.
Homosexual refers to people whose sexual and romantic feelings are for the same gender. This term has been used in pathologising ways and is not often used as an identity label; most people who experience same gender attraction will use labels like gay or lesbian.
Homophobia is the fear of or intolerance towards people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual or otherwise same gender attracted. Homophobia includes hostility, verbal and physical abuse, and discrimination, as well as institutional and cultural bias and structural inequality.
Intersex people are born with physical sex characteristics that don’t fit medical norms for female or male bodies. These characteristics can include chromosomes, hormones, and genitalia. There are many different intersex bodies and experiences, and intersex variations may become apparent before or at birth, during puberty, or in adulthood when trying to conceive. Some people may never realise they are intersex. For more information about what it means to be intersex, visit intersex Human Rights Australia (https://ihra.org.au/)
Lesbian refers to women whose sexual and romantic feelings are for other women.
LGBTIQ: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer & questioning. This also encompasses all people otherwise diverse in their sexuality and/or gender, including asexual, pansexual, demisexual, polysexual, asexual, agender and more.
The + is to represent that not all identities can be captured in a mere 6 letters, and we respect identities that fall outside of those letters.
There are many iterations of the acronym including LGBT, GLBT, GLBTI, LGBTIQQ, LGBTQIA, LGBTQIA+ or LGBTI - https://lgbtihealth.org.au/LGBTI/.
Men who have Sex with Men. This is an inclusive term that includes gay and bisexual men as well as men who are engaging in same sex sexual behaviour who may not identify as gay or bi e.g. men who may identify as straight or be in straight relationships who have sex with other men. 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.
Non-binary can be used as an umbrella term, but primarily refers to a person whose gender identity is neither exclusively male nor exclusively female.
Pansexual refers to people whose sexual and romantic feelings are for all genders.
Queer is an umbrella term which can be used to refer to the LGBTIQ community or used as an identity label. Many LGBTIQ people consider ‘queer’ to be a slur as the word has historically and presently been used in discriminatory ways. As such, this term should not be used to describe people or communities without their permission. However, for many this term accurately captures their identity and is a source of pride, comfort and inclusivity.
Sex refers to the biological attributes that define people as either male, female, a combination of female and male, or neither female nor male. These biological attributes include chromosomes and physical anatomy.
Sexuality, also referred sometimes as sexual orientation, is who you’re attracted to and want to have sexual or romantic relationships with.
SISTERGIRLS & BROTHERBOYS
Sistergirls and brotherboys are terms unique to Indigenous culture in Australia which can refer to transgender and gay people in Aborginial and Torres Strait Islander communities. 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.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people use varying terminology to describe or identify a person assigned female or male at birth and identifying or living partly or fully as another gender. Some communities may use terms such as ‘Sistergirl’ or ‘Brotherboy’, or they may use alternative words relevant within local language. Use and spelling of the terms may vary across different groups and communities, and other cultures will use different terms to describe gender diversity.
TRANSGENDER / TRANS
A transgender person is someone whose gender identity is different to their sex assigned at birth. This can encompass binary trans people (e.g. transgender men and women) or non-binary people.
For trans people, transitioning is the process of changing their body and presentation to match their identity and sense of themselves. This can involve some or all of the following: change of pronouns, dressing differently, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), gender 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 do it.
Transphobia is a prejudice or discrimination based on a person being, or perceived as being, transgender or gender diverse. Transphobia can be expressed through hostility, verbal and physical bullying or discrimination, and can also include institutional and cultural bias and structural inequality
Transsexual is a lesser-used term which refers to someone whose gender identity is different to their sex assigned at birth, and who may undergo medical transition, including the use of hormone replacement therapy and/or gender affirmation surgery. This term is largely used as an identity term and should not be used to describe someone without their permission.