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Your guide to words and definitions in the LGBTIQA+ community

Have you ever found yourself perplexed by the LGBTIQA+ acronym and its numerous letters (not to mention that plus sign)? Or perhaps someone you know has recently come out, and you’re hesitant to inquire about their identity.

Worry not! We’re here to provide clarity.

Asexuality /Ace: Refers to individuals who experience minimal or no sexual attraction toward others.

Brotherboy and Sistergirl: Terms used within certain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to describe trans individuals. Brotherboy typically denotes those with masculine spirits who may have been assigned female at birth, while Sistergirl is used for those with feminine spirits who may have been assigned male at birth.

Bisexuality: Involves attraction to individuals of both the same gender and other genders. Each person’s experience with bisexuality is unique, and it doesn’t strictly mean attraction to only two genders.

Cisgender (Cis): Describes individuals who are not transgender or gender diverse and identify with the sex assigned to them at birth by medical professionals. The term “cis” is derived from Latin, meaning “on the same side as,” and is used in contrast to “trans,” which means “on the other side of.”

Homosexuality: Most commonly refers to individuals who are attracted to others of the same identified gender.

Discrimination: The act of treating someone unfairly or unequally due to aspects of their identity. For example, a school prohibiting a student from wearing clothing that aligns with their gender identity. Discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity is typically illegal in Australia.

Gender Diversity: Describes individuals who feel that their gender identity does not conform to the categories associated with their assigned sex at birth. It’s normal to question how gender stereotypes relate to you, and some people identify as genders other than male or female.

Heteronormativity & Cissexism: The assumption that everyone is heterosexual and cisgender, which can occur when one has limited exposure to same-sex attracted or gender diverse individuals. It also includes the expectation that one must adhere to specific gender-related behaviors.

Homosexual (Outdated): Historically used to mean attracted to the same gender. Nowadays, it is often considered derogatory and should only be used if someone self-identifies with the term.

Homophobia: A broad term encompassing negative feelings or actions toward individuals who are same-sex attracted or attracted to multiple genders. Homophobia can result in discrimination or abuse and can manifest in subtle forms, such as using derogatory language like “that’s so gay.”

Intersectionality: The concept that social factors like race, class, and gender intersect and influence an individual or group’s experiences, often leading to overlapping forms of discrimination or disadvantage.

Intersex: Individuals who are born with natural variations in their bodies that differ from typical male/female expectations. This can involve variations in hormones, chromosomes, and sexual organs. Intersex people do not fit the binary understanding of male or female.

Non-Binary: An umbrella term for gender identities that do not strictly align with male or female, which can encompass a mixture of both, fluidity, or entirely different gender identities.

Pansexuality: Describes attraction, whether sexual, romantic, or emotional, to individuals regardless of their sex or gender identity.

PoC (Person of Color): Used to refer to individuals from racial or ethnic minority groups. Queer people of color often use the acronym QTIPOC.

Queer: A broad term encompassing anyone who is attracted to the same gender or has a gender identity that doesn’t fit conventional norms.

Queer Capitalism / Pink-washing: The trend among corporations to publicly support LGBTIQ+ causes, particularly during events like Mardi Gras or Pride Month, without offering substantial support to the LGBTQ+ community.

Questioning / Unsure: Many individuals will explore their sexual or gender identity at some point in their lives. It can be a confusing journey, but it’s a normal part of self-discovery.

QTIPoC: Describes a Queer, Trans, Intersex Person of Color.

Sexuality: Refers to who you are physically and romantically attracted to, distinct from your gender identity, although some people may confuse the two.

Stereotyping: Making generalized assumptions about individuals based on their membership in a particular group.

Tokenism: The superficial inclusion of a small number of individuals from underrepresented groups to create the illusion of diversity, especially within a workforce.

Transgender: Describes individuals whose gender identity differs from the sex assigned to them at birth. Some transgender people may change their names, clothing, or undergo medical transitions, while others may not.

Transphobia: A term encompassing negative feelings or actions directed at gender-diverse or transgender individuals, their desires, and behaviors, often leading to discriminatory actions or abuse.