Terminology and language can impact on a person’s identity, self-worth and inherent dignity. The use of inclusive and acceptable terminology empowers individuals and enables visibility of important issues. Terminology in this area is at times contested and changing and there is not often clear consensus on what is appropriate terminology. While recognising these limitations, it is important to provide clarification around some of the terminology.
There are many ways to describe sexuality and gender. Many of these are captured by the term LGBTI.
L – Lesbian: A woman who is attracted to women.
G – Gay: Someone who is attracted to people of the same gender.
B – Bisexual: Someone who is attracted to people of more than one gender.
T – Transgender: Someone whose personal and gender identity is different from the one they were assigned at birth.
I – Intersex: Someone who is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that falls outside the typical definitions of ‘male’ and ‘female’.
There are also:
Q – Queer: This term has been reclaimed by many as a proud term to describe sexuality or gender that is anything other than cisgender and/or heterosexual.
A – Asexual: Someone who has low or no sexual attraction to any gender, but may still experience romantic attraction towards another person. Someone who experiences no romantic attraction may identify as Aromantic.
+ – The plus sign acknowledges there are other diverse sexual orientations and gender identities that fall outside of LGBTQIA definitions, especially of other cultural identities and roles.
For more information on sexual orientation, please visit:
For more information on gender identity and gender diversity, please visit:
Or alternatively, please visit the Victorian Government’s LGBTI Inclusion webpage: https://www.vic.gov.au/lgbti-equality
*Cisgender refers to someone whose gender identity aligns with the gender they were assigned at birth.