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.
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.
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.
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 provide specialist counselling for LGBTIQA+ students and staff.
Links for further support
LGBTIQ Counselling and Support
- QLife/Switchboard A national 24/7 phone counselling service.
- Drummond St Services Queerspace Family support agency that provides counselling and support to LGBTIQ+ people and their families.
- Victorian Aids Council Counselling for individuals and couples who are affected by or at risk of HIV, and for members of the LGBTI community.
- 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.
- DocLIST Online list of doctors and mental health professionals recommended by lesbian and bisexual women in Australia.
- GLHV-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.
- 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.
- FTM Australia FTM Australia is a peer based Australia-wide network offering links to contact for men identified 'female' at birth who medically transition to male.
- Organisation Intersex International 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.
- Bi-alliance A non-profit volunteer-run organisation dedicated to promoting the acceptance of bisexuals in LGBTI and mainstream society.