Terminology is particularly important when being inclusive. Western Sydney University recognises the complexities of language in this area and that the terms and definitions we use are certainly not applicable to all people. The University uses the acronym LGBTIQ when referring to diverse sexualities and genders, it refers to lesbian (L), gay (G), bisexual (B), transgender (T), intersex (I), and queer (Q). This is the preferred term nominated by our students and staff within the Ally Network and Queer Collective. Other umbrella terms often used include LGBQIT+, LGBTQIA, or Queer. Terms and acronyms are extensive in the area of sexuality and gender diversity, reflecting the broad range of individual identities and experiences within this diverse community. Below are just a few terms explained.

  • Gender identity: a personal conception of oneself as male, female or some other non-binary gender. A person's gender identity usually involves the mannerisms, dress, personal pronoun, titles, and many other characteristics associated with conventional gender roles.
  • Intersex: means having physical, hormonal or genetic features which are not wholly female or male, or a combination of both female and male, or neither female or male.
  • Non-binary gender: someone with a gender identity other than male or female, this can include a diverse range of non-binary gender identities, including but not limited to transgender, intersex, gender queer, gender fluid, bi-gender.
  • Sex: refers to the chromosomal and anatomical characteristics associated with biological sex.
  • Sexual orientation: is a person's sexual identity in relation to the gender to which they are attracted, including whether they are attracted to individuals of the same sex, different sex, or both. Some terms used to describe a person's sexual orientation include lesbian, gay, bisexual, homosexual, heterosexual, straight or queer.
  • Transition: the act of permanently and publicly adopting the style and presentation of a gender different to that of a person's birth-assigned sex. The process usually includes a change of name, personal pronoun, dress and gender identity. Transition might also include medical intervention to change physical characteristics to match the person's new gender.
  • Transgender or Trans: a person who identifies their gender as different to their birth-assigned sex. A transgender person may identify as male, female or as having a non-binary gender.