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SUPRA Queer Officers’ guide to understanding LGBTQIA+

What does LGBTQIA+ mean?

LGBTQIA+ refers to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual community. The + refers to the many diverse sexualities and genders that exist. Below are some definitions of these terms, as well as many more!

  • Gay: is widely used to define same sex attraction, it can be used for any gender, but has historically been used to define when a man is attracted to another man.
  • Lesbian: refers to women who are attracted to other women. Some lesbians may identify as gay or gay women.
  • Bisexual: refers to people who are attracted to people of the same gender and to people of different genders.
  • Transgender (Trans): refers to a person whose gender differs to what was presumed for them at birth. Transgender is an umbrella term that includes binary trans people (women and men who are trans), non-binary trans people, Sistergirls and Brotherboys.
  • Non-Binary: refers to people who are not exclusively male or female, including people who have no binary gender at all and people who have some relationship to binary gender.
  • Queer: is an umbrella term used for anyone who doesn’t identify exclusively as heterosexual. Some people may use ‘queer’ or ‘genderqueer’ to describe their gender identity or expression.
  • Asexual: means a person does not experience any sexual attraction to other people. This is often shortened to ‘ace’.
  • Intersex: is an umbrella term used to refer to people who are born with naturally occurring and very normal differences of chromosomes, gonads, hormones and/or genitals. Some intersex people are trans, while most are cis.
  • Sistergirl: is a term used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to describe gender diverse people that have a female spirit and take on female roles within the community, including looking after children and family. Many Sistergirls live a traditional lifestyle and have strong cultural backgrounds.
  • Brotherboy: is a term used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to describe gender diverse people that have a male spirit and take on male roles within the community. Brotherboys have a strong sense of their cultural identity.
  • Pansexual: refers to a person who is sexually or emotionally attracted to someone, regardless of their gender or sexuality.
  • Ally: is a term to describe people who are supportive, affirming, accepting, loving and advocate for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • Agender: refers to someone who does not identify as having any particular gender.
  • Cisgender: refers to someone whose current gender is one that was presumed for them at birth. ‘Cis’ for short for cisgender.

Here are some further resources on LGBTQIA+:

How to be an ally to LGBTQIA+ people

There is no one way to be an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community. It may depend on the context. Here are some simple ways to be an ally:

  • It is important to show support and respect by using the correct pronouns for people.
  • You can call people out when they are being homophobic, transphobic, abusive, patronising, and showing disrespect.
  • Treat LGBTQIA+ people as you would like to be treated.
  • If you are a member of staff, you could place a sticker on your door showing your space is a safe space. Not only does this show LGBTQIA+ students that safe spaces exist on campus, but it also demonstrates to other students that you are an ally.

University of Sydney LGBTQIA+ support services and resources

The University of Sydney offers a range of support services designed for LGBTQIA+ students and staff (though we could always use more!). We believe the University should continue to make improvements in order to maintain silver status in the Australian Workplace Equality Index and maintain its reputation as an affirming and welcoming place.

Here are some resources available on campus:

Student University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA) Queer Network
This is with us (SUPRA)! We bring LGBTQIA+ voices to SUPRA meetings, represent you in negotiations and discourses with Uni, and try to make Usyd an LGBTQIA+ friendly place.

Contact the SUPRA Queer Officer: queer@supra.usyd.edu.au.

Queer Action Collective (QuAC)
QuAC is an autonomous activist group that seeks to make Usyd an affirming and safe space for LGBT+ and queer-identifying students!

Sydney University Law Society (SULS) Queer Committee
SULS queer portfolio provides support to LGBTQIA+ law students.

SHADES
SHADES is a student-run LGBTQIA+ student society. They run socials and various events.

The Queerspace
The Queerspace a safe space for LGBTQIA+ students to hang out. The Queerspace can be found in room G10 on the ground floor of the Manning Building, Camperdown Campus.

Pride Network
The Pride Network is a Usyd initiative which seeks to ensure the Uni is a safe space for LGBTQIA+ students and staff. They hold various meetings throughout the year.

Sydney LGBTQIA+ services

There are many support services for the  LGBTQIA+ community within the Sydney metropolitan area.

Twenty10
Twenty10 is an LGBTQIA+ youth organisation based in Chippendale. They have different events, including a drop-in service for people aged 12–25, among others (some available for people 25+). They have a food pantry, kitchen, counselling, legal service, and other services.

ACON
ACON is a community organisation that focuses on community health, inclusion and HIV responses for people of diverse sexualities and genders. ACON offers counselling services and is very experienced working with sexually diverse and gender-diverse communities.

The Gender Centre
The Gender Centre is an organisation in Sydney that offers a number of services for trans and gender-diverse people.

TransHub
TransHub is ACON’s digital information and resource platform for all trans and gender diverse (TGD) people in NSW, for loved ones, allies and health providers.

Headspace Camperdown Queer Group
Queer group is a group for LGBT+ and queer-identifying young people (up to 25 years old) to hang out. It is run out of Headspace in Camperdown.

Australia-wide LGBTQIA+ resources

There are many LGBTQIA+ services and resources in Australia. Here are a handful!

Written by SUPRA Queer Officers: Joseph J. Black & Yuning Zhang

Need help?

Our  casework and legal services are here for you.

Postgraduate Advocacy Service

Our caseworkers can help with any problems you face while you study at Usyd, from academic appeals to renting.

SUPRA Legal Service

Our solicitors can assist with a wide range of legal issues, including visas, migration law and intellectual property.