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What is gender affirmation?

We want our University community to reflect and celebrate gender in all its diversity and fluidity, where every person feels they can be their authentic self.
The Transgender Pride Flag

The Transgender Pride Flag was designed by trans woman Monica Helms. She describes the blue and pink as stripes as representing traditional colours for baby boys and girls, with the middle stripe coloured white to represent those who are transitioning or consider themselves having a neutral or undefined gender.

We aim to promote a positive experience for students who are affirming their gender, and provide resources and support to navigate the gender affirmation process. It’s up to all of us to create an inclusive environment for all students.   

While every person has the right to personal beliefs, the University promotes an environment where staff and students work and study alongside one another in a productive and harmonious environment free from discrimination, bullying and harassment. We've consulted closely with the University's Diversity and Inclusion Team and sought advice from trans staff and external bodies to provide information for students that reflects requirements in government legislation and key University polices such as the Staff and Affiliates Code of ConductBullying, Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Policy and Student Charter.

Understand the terminology

We acknowledge that the LGBTQIA+ community is richly diverse and that the language we have used may not encapsulate all identities and histories of our trans and gender diverse students. Our chosen terminology has been informed by TransHub and the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender.

Gender affirmation and gender transition

Gender affirmation and gender transition are similar and are often used interchangeably, however in this document we have used the term gender affirmation to align with terminology recommended by TransHub. Their definition is: 'The personal process or processes a trans or gender diverse person determines is right for them in order to live as their defined gender and so that society recognises this. Gender affirmation may involve social, medical and/or legal steps that affirm a person’s gender.'


Sex refers to the chromosomal, gonadal and anatomical characteristics associated with biological sex.

Non-binary/gender diverse

Non-binary is an umbrella term for any number of gender identities that sit within, outside of, across or between the spectrum of the male and female binary. A non-binary person might identify as gender fluid, trans masculine, trans feminine, agender, bigender etc.


Gender is part of a person’s personal and social identity. It refers to the way a person feels, presents and is recognised within the community. A person’s gender may be reflected in outward social markers, including their name, outward appearance, mannerisms and dress.

Are trans and intersex the same thing? 

Intersex and trans are not interchangeable terms, however some intersex people may also identify as trans or gender diverse. Not all individuals who are intersex identify as LGBTQIA+. Intersex people are born with naturally occurring and very normal differences of chromosomes, gonads (ovaries and testes), hormones, and/or genitals. There are more than 40 different ways to be intersex. Some people never find out that they are intersex and many find out during significant life stages such as at birth, throughout puberty, when trying to conceive a pregnancy or during health or medical screenings. You can find information on the Intersex Human Rights Australia website, or you can contact the Pride Network

What do we mean by trans and gender diverse?

ACON’s TransHub defines trans and gender diverse as 'inclusive umbrella terms that describe people whose gender is different to what was presumed for them at birth'.

TransHub also notes that, 'Trans people may position ‘being trans’ as a history or experience, rather than an identity, and consider their gender identity as simply being female, male or a non-binary identity. Some trans people connect strongly with their trans experience, whereas others do not. Processes of gender affirmation may or may not be part of a trans or gender diverse person’s life.'

Being transgender doesn’t necessarily mean that you are uncomfortable within your own body, but people can sometimes experience this. People may also experience severe discomfort when not perceived as their affirmed gender. An individual’s affirmed gender is the gender that matches their gender identity. For example, if a person is presumed female at birth and identifies as male, their affirmed gender is male. Transgender individuals will feel more comfortable, confident or able to be their true selves when they are able to express themselves as their affirmed gender.


For more information and resources around the gender affirmation process, we suggest visiting TransHub's website.

The gender affirmation process

Gender affirmation is the process an individual goes through when they to begin to live as their authentic gender, rather than that presumed at birth. This process can include all or any combination of social, medical and legal affirmation.

  • Social affirmation may include coming out, clothing, voice and names and pronouns.
  • Medical affirmation may include, but is not limited to, surgery and/or hormone therapy.
  • Legal affirmation may include, but is not limited to, name and gender change on documents.
Last updated: 30 March 2023

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