Diverse sexuality, sex and gender (LGBTIQA+)

Sexuality, sex and gender can be complex and dynamic. While there is increasing acceptance of people of diverse sexuality and gender, many people still experience homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

These forms of discrimination can be difficult to manage without support, which can help you to discover and value your own uniqueness.

Sexuality

Heterosexuality is not more normal than other sexualities, it’s just more common.

It is normal to be attracted to women, men, no-one, other diverse genders or just to people in general regardless of their gender.  Some people find it useful to identify with a label that fits for them, such as queer, pansexual, bisexual, lesbian, gay, heteroflexible, demisexual, fluid, asexual, polyamorous, or many other words that are emerging as people try to capture their unique experience of sexuality in language.  Other people just identify as not straight, or choose not to label their sexuality at all.  A person’s experience of their own sexual orientation can change over time.  You may have been attracted to people of the opposite sex and then found yourself attracted to someone of the same sex or someone with a diverse gender identity.

Gender

Sometimes the sex you were assigned at birth is not the same as your gender identity.

Some people find that their gender identity and way of expressing their gender doesn’t fit into society’s expectations about gender being binary, while others feel very clearly male or female.  Some people find the umbrella term transgender (or trans) helpful in identifying as part of the trans community, and there are many other words such as genderqueer and genderfluid, which describe non-binary gender identities.  Some gender diverse people access hormones or surgery to change their bodies to be more aligned with their gender identity, and many do not medically transition for different personal reasons.

Physiological sex can also be less binary than expected, as intersex people have anatomical, hormonal, or chromosomal characteristics that don’t align with medical expectations for male and female bodies.

How we can help

Your subjective experience of your sexuality, sex or gender is valid and will be respected by the counsellors at Melbourne University Counselling and Psychological Services. We acknowledge there are a wide range of unique challenges facing people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or transsexual, intersex, queer or questioning (LGBTIQA+), or gender diverse, and we provide specialist counselling for LGBTIQA+ students and staff.

Further support

LGBTIQ counselling and support

  • QLife/Switchboard: A national 24/7 phone counselling service.
  • Queerspace: Family support agency that provides counselling and support to LGBTIQ+ people and their families.
  • Thorne Harbour Health: Health services and programs for LGBTI communities.
  • Northside Clinic: LGBTIQ+ oriented general practice and sexual health clinic in Fitzroy North.
  • Prahran Market Clinic: A general medical practice in Prahran with particular focus on Gay, Lesbian and gender diverse health.
  • Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria: GLHV is a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) health and wellbeing policy and resource unit.
  • Rainbow Families: A community organisation for rainbow families.
  • Bi-alliance: A non-profit volunteer-run organisation dedicated to promoting the acceptance of bisexuals in LGBTI and mainstream society.

Transgender counselling and support

  • Transgender Victoria: Information and resources page for the Victorian transgender community.
  • YGender: A peer led social support and advocacy group for trans/gender diverse young people.
  • Seahorse Victoria: Support and social group for the Victorian transgender community.
  • Intersex Human Rights Australia: Support, education and policy development for people with intersex variations or traits focusing on human rights, bodily autonomy and self-determination, and on evidence-based, patient-directed healthcare.

Things to do to feel connected

If you'd like more support, come along to one of our workshops or make an appointment for individual counselling.

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