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To assist readers understand the terminology used on this web site short, non-exclusive definitions of key words are provided below.

Bisexual: a person who is romantically and sexually attracted to individuals of their own gender and other genders.

Cisgender: When a person is cisgender, they identify as the gender that traditionally matches the sex that they were assigned at birth.

Gay: a person who identifies as a man and is sexually and/or romantically attracted to other people who identify as men. The term gay can also be used in relation to women who are sexually and romantically attracted to other women. Both cis and transgender people may identify as gay.

Gender Diverse: an umbrella term that acknowledges the many different ways people may identify their gender. Examples include: agender, genderfluid, non-binary and genderqueer. It is important to remember gender identity is not a sexual orientation.

Intersex: Intersex Human Rights Australia provides a simple definition of intersex:  Intersex people are born with physical sex characteristics that don’t fit medical and social norms for female or male bodies.

Lesbian: an individual who identifies as a woman and is sexually and/or romantically attracted to other people who identify as women. Both cis and transgender women may identify as lesbians.

LGBTIQ: This is an acronym to refer to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer people collectively. This is used within this document at times to when referring to experiences shared by these communities. It is also used with the acknowledgement some people may identify as more than one cohort, and people are not these cohorts simultaneously.

Open relationship: Where people have an agreement that they will engage in additional relationships beyond the one that they share. These relationships can be a combination of physical and/or romantic and are practiced by people from mainstream and LGBTIQ communities alike.

Polyamory: The practice of engaging in more than one relationship at any given time, with all parties knowing about these. These relationships can be a combination of physical and/or romantic connection and can be engaged in by people from mainstream and LGBTIQ communities alike.

Queer: The term ‘queer’ is a politicised term and often used as a reaction against pressures to be heterosexual, or pressure that non-heterosexuals, intersex and non-cis people should express themselves only in ways acceptable to the heterosexual mainstream. Like many terms used within the LGBTIQ communities, the use of the word ‘queer’ is not universal. Some people find this term offensive due to its original use as a derisive word, and due to this prior association prefer not to use or reclaim it. As a result, although it is also sometimes used as an umbrella term to describe the full range of LGBTIQ identities, this is not encouraged.

Rainbow Families: Rainbow families are families where one or more people of a family are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse, intersex, queer and non-binary parent or carers including prospective parents and their children.

Sistergirl/Brotherboy: These are terms used for transgender people within some Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities. Sistergirls and Brotherboys have distinct cultural identities and roles.

Sistergirls are Indigenous women who were classified male at birth but live their lives as women, including taking on traditional cultural female practices.

Brotherboys are Indigenous men who were classified female at birth but “choose to live their lives as male, regardless of which stage/path medically they choose”.

Transgender: The term transgender (or trans) is an umbrella term referring to people whose gender identity is different to what was assumed at birth based on the sex that they were assigned. A transgender person may identify as specifically transgender, or simply as male or female, or outside of these binaries.

1800 LGBTIQ | 1800 542 847