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Let's talk about bodies, identity and sexuality

What is a person’s sex?

Sex refers to the body, often the private parts, that doctors or parents noticed when you were born. Some people are born with male, others with female body parts.

What does it mean if someone is ‘intersex’?

Some people are born intersex, meaning they may be born with, or develop, body parts that are not typically male or female.

What is ‘gender’?

Gender describes the behaviours and roles that society expects girls, boys, women and men to play. This expectation begins when you are born and is based on the body parts you were born with.

What is ‘gender identity’?

Gender identity is how you feel on the inside or who you know yourself to be. You might show this through how you express yourself, like through what you wear or how you act.

Some people identify as Transgender or Trans, meaning that their gender identity is different from the sex decided when they were born – usually male or female.

What is ‘sexual orientation’?

Sexual orientation is who you have romantic feelings for. These kinds of feelings often start around puberty, but for some people they might not happen at all!

Some people describe their sexual orientation as lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, or heterosexual.

LGBTQI+

LGBTQI+ is like a broad term for the diversity of people’s gender identities, sexual orientation, and bodies. It stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex.

The little + sign represents all the different experiences of gender and identity that are welcomed and celebrated within the LGBTQI+ community.

What does discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community look like?

In Australia, and in the rest of the world, many people experience harm or discrimination because of their gender identity, sexual orientation or because they are intersex. This means, they’re treated unfairly and unkindly. Imagine:

- Being bullied for who you are

- Not being able to marry who you love

- Having to hide who you are

- Or being rejected by your family and friends.

How are people from the LGBTQI+ community protected?

In some countries, including Australia, there are laws that protect the rights of all people to be free from discrimination. For example, if you want to join a choir or a sports team, there are laws to make sure you are included and treated fairly, regardless of your gender identity or sexual orientation.

Over time, our laws, attitudes and understanding of the LGBTQI+ community have changed to protect more people, and to be more inclusive, fair and equal. But even though we’ve come a long way, many LGBTQI+ people still face challenges and discrimination today. They may feel like they don’t belong.

When we are more accepting and understanding of our diversity, we can live happily with the freedom to be who we are. We all have the right to fair and equal treatment, no matter who we are, how we identify, who we love, or what body parts we have.

Everyone has the right to live with love, dignity, and respect.

Learn more

You can learn more about all the ways we are different from one another, as well as the many things we have in common by watching:

· Let’s talk about equality and equity

· Let’s talk about education

· Let’s talk about disability

· Let’s talk about racism

· Let’s talk about refugees