LGBTIQ Terminology

Build your awareness using the glossary below

Understanding terms relating to diverse genders, sexes and sexualities helps to foster a more inclusive and respectful workplace for LGBTIQ staff at UNSW.

The following list is not exhaustive but provides a comprehensive set of terms.

Term   Definition 

Affirmed Gender  
The gender to which one identifies, which may or may not match the individual’s assigned gender  at birth.
A term which can be literally translated as “without gender”. Those who identify as agender, do not typically identify as man, or woman or any other gender.
Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group Australia, a peer support, information and advocacy group for intersex people in Australia.
Asexual or Ace
An adjective used to describe people who do not experience sexual attraction. A person can also be aromantic, meaning they do not experience romantic attraction.
Two genders, or double gender. Bigender people may experience two gender identities at the same time or at different times. Typically bi-gender identities are man and woman, but may also include non-binary identities. May also include a tendency to move between masculine and feminine gender-typed behaviour depending on context, expressing a distinctly masculine persona and a distinctly feminine persona.
Bisexual or Bi  
A person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to persons of the same and opposite sex.
Brotherboys   Brother boys are Indigenous transgender men.
Cis or Cisgender   A term used to describe when a person’s gender identity matches social expectations for their sex assigned at birth; the opposite of transgender. It is unclear how this term relates to people with intersex variations, if at all.
Coming Out   The process through which an individual comes to recognise and acknowledge (both to self and to others) their sexual orientation / gender identity. People with intersex variations typically find out about their status from their parents or a doctor.
Congenital   Also “innate”, a term meaning that something is present at birth.
D&I   Diversity and Inclusion, a workplace strategy to promote diverse workplaces free from discrimination.
Family   In this definitions list, family may include biological family or family of choice. Due to possibly having experienced rejection from their biological families, some LGBTIQ people may form core relationship links with others who they may refer to as their ‘family of choice’. This is similar to many other people’s relationships with their biological family.
FtM (F2M)
  Female to male. Sometimes written as FtoM.
Gay   A person whose primary emotional and sexual attraction is towards people of the same sex. The term is most commonly applied to males, although some females use this term.
  Gender is part of a person’s personal and social identity. It refers to the way a person feels, presents and is recognised within the community. A person’s gender expression refers to outward social markers, including their name, outward appearance, mannerisms and dress.
Gender Diverse An umbrella word for people with diverse or non-conforming gender identities. Sometimes used in preference to the term transgender. Intersex should not be conflated with gender diverse.
Gender Fluid   A gender identify that varies over time. A gender fluid person may feel like a mix of genders, but more male on some days, female on others.
Gender Expression   The appearance, mannerisms or other gender related characteristics of a person. The way people express or present their gender.
Gender Identity   The way a person may identify, e.g. as a man, woman, both, neither or otherwise. Intersex people have a range of gender identities, just like non-intersex people.
Most commonly used when someone feels that their gender identity does not fit into the socially constructed norms associated with their biological sex.
Heteronormative   The assumption that heterosexuality is the norm and that everyone is heterosexual.
Hermaphrodite   A misleading term sometimes used to describe intersex people. In biology, hermaphrodites such as snails, some fish and plants, possess fully functioning fertile sets of both “male” and “female” sex organs. This is impossible in mammals. Some intersex medical diagnoses have been termed “pseudo-hermaphrodites” or “true hermaphrodites”. While some intersex people reclaim the term, others find it stigmatising due to its medical and biological uses.
Homophobia   A term used to describe a negative attitude towards LGBTIQ people.
Intersex   A simple and least stigmatising term for a broad range of congenital physical traits or variations that lie between stereotypical 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.
Intersex Status  
An attribute in the Commonwealth of Australia Sex Discrimination Act 1984, as amended in 2013, the attribute is defined in physical terms. It is deliberately separate from attributes of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation and disability.

The Act contains exemptions relating to competitive sport and recognition of non-binary identities. No specific religious exemptions were intended, due to the physical, innate characteristics of intersex.
A woman whose enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction is to other women. Some lesbians may prefer to identify as gay or as gay women.
Misgendering   Describing or addressing someone using personal pronouns or other language that does not match a person’s gender identity. Deliberate misgendering constitutes bullying / harassment and needs to be addressed as such. For people with intersex variations, this may include a presumption that they have a non-binary gender identity, just as much as an assumption that they are a man, or a woman.
MtF (M2F)   Male to Female. Sometimes written as MtoF.
Non-binary or Enby   Someone with a gender identity other than man or woman; there are a diverse range of non-binary gender identities.
Pansexual or Pan*   Someone who is attracted to all gender identities, or to people, regardless of gender.
Queer   An umbrella term for a wide range of non-conforming gender identities and sexual orientations.
Same-sex Attracted   Attraction towards people of one’s own gender. The term has been used particularly in the context of young people whose sexual identity is not fixed, but who do experience sexual feelings towards people of their own sex.
Sex   Refers to the chromosomal, gonadal, and anatomical characteristics associated with biological sex.
Sexual Orientation   A person’s sexual orientation towards persons of the same sex, persons of a different sex, persons of the same sex and persons of a different sex, or persons of neither sex. Intersex persons have diverse sexual orientations.
Sistergirls   Sister girls are Indigenous transgender women.
Transgender or Trans   A person who identifies their gender as different to what was assigned at birth may consider themselves transgender or trans. A trans person might identify as man or woman, or as non-binary (and relate to terms such as gender fluid, genderqueer, bi-gender etc.). Some women might use terms such as trans woman or Male-to-Female (MtF) and some men might use terms such as trans man or Female-to-Male (FtM) to describe their lived experience, others do not. Additionally, Indigenous trans women might identify as Sistergirl, Indigenous trans men as Brotherboy.
Transition    Describes both a public act and a process of gender affirmation. It involves the permanent and public adoption of the style and presentation of the gender different to that of a person’s birth-assigned sex. It may include a change of name, chosen style of address and pronouns, as well as adopting the dress and style of a person’s innate gender. Transition might also include medical intervention such as hormones and/or surgery, many people do not want or cannot access these interventions.