The Australian Human Rights Commission recognises that respect for individuality impacts on a person’s self-worth and inherent dignity. The use of inclusive terminology respects individuality and enables visibility of important issues.
The Commission supports the right of people to identify their sexual orientation and gender identity as they choose. The Commission also recognises that terminology is strongly contested, particularly terminology to describe gender identity and intersex variations.
Brotherboy: A culturally specific term to describe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander transgender men.
Cisgender: Refers to people who identify their gender in the same way as was legally assigned to them at birth (see Transgender).
Endosex: Refers to people whose sex characteristics meet medical and social norms for typically ‘male’ or ‘female’ bodies (see Intersex).
Gender: Refers to the way in which a person identifies or expresses their masculine or feminine characteristics. A person’s gender identity or gender expression is not always exclusively male or female and may change over time.
Gender expression: Refers to the way in which a person externally expresses their gender or how they are perceived by others.
Gender identity: Refers to a person’s deeply held internal and individual feeling of gender.
Intersex: Refers to people who are born with genetic, hormonal or physical sex characteristics that do not conform to medical norms for ‘male’ or ‘female’ bodies. Intersex people have a diversity of bodies and identities.
LGBTI: An abbreviation which is used to describe lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people collectively. Many sub-groups form part of the broader LGBTI movement.
Sex characteristics: Refers to a person’s primary and secondary sex characteristics, for example an individual’s sex chromosomes, hormones, reproductive organs, genitals, and breast and hair development.
Sexual orientation: Rrefers to a person’s romantic or sexual attraction to another person, including, amongst others, the following: heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual or same-sex attracted.
Sistergirl: A culturally specific term to describe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander transgender women.
SOGIESC: An abbreviation used to describe sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics collectively for the purposes of law and policy, most often in human rights and anti-discrimination law. The Commission previously used SOGII (sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex).
SOGIESC rights: Ensuring the equal application of human rights to everyone regardless of an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics.
Transgender: The term ‘transgender’ or ‘trans and gender diverse’ is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity is different to that which was legally assigned to them at birth. Trans and gender diverse people may take steps to live in their nominated sex with or without medical treatment (see Transition). Throughout different cultural contexts transgender identities have specific terms. For example in some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities some Sistergirls and Brotherboys are also trans people (See Sistergirl and Brotherboy).
Transition: Transition may involve social, medical and/or legal processes to affirm a person’s gender identity.
The Commission recognises that terminology is constantly evolving and language used in past Commission reports and older web pages may no longer be accurate or reflect current best practice.