Nomenclature

For an introduction to these issues, see our media and style guide

Identification documents

Revised policy on identification documents

Read about bodily integrity, and eliminating harmful practices Read about eugenics, prenatal screening and elimination Read about discrimination, and stigma Read about identification documents, sex and gender Important note: this paper should not be regarded as a guide to our current policy on identification documents. Our approaches have been informed by community-building and evidence-building, and…
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On the number of intersex people: four calculator symbols

Intersex population figures

There are no firm population figures for people with intersex variations, due to stigma, misconceptions, lack of accurate recording of data, arbitrary definitions, and ideological values.

Defining intersex: an image of a magnifying glass over a plus symbol

What is intersex?

This page presents a range of working, Australian and international definitions of intersex. Intersex people are born with physical sex characteristics that don’t fit medical and social norms for female or male bodies.

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“Sex and Gender Diverse” discussion paper on terminology

This paper was updated in September 2013, with a new final “impact” section that reflects the discontinuation of “SGD” and “DSG” terminology by the National LGBTI Health Alliance and many other organisations. We recommend browsing the Videos, Audio and Personal Stories sections of this website to gain familiarity with the diversity of intersex identities, genders,…
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“A medical condition is only as real as its definition”, Georgiann Davis on DSD in Sociology of Diagnosis journal

Sociologist Georgiann Davis Ph.D. recently had published her paper on DSD in Sociology of Diagnosis, Advances in Medical Sociology, Volume 12, 155–182. The paper, “DSD is a perfectly fine term”: Reasserting Medical Authority Through a Shift in Intersex Terminology is a hugely important critique and highly recommended reading. The context Even though the diagnosis carried…
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‘ISGD’ and the appropriation of intersex

“I’ve been waiting for years for you to show up. It’s clear that transsexuals are not going to get our rights until intersexuals do.” (quoted by Suzanne Kessler, 1998) “Intersex is not one but many sites of contested being, [with] temporally sutured biomedical, political and social imperatives… ‘Intersex’ is a sign constantly under erasure, whose…
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Style guide

Style guide: on intersex and terminology

A style guide to describing intersex people, intersex bodies, and the issues facing the intersex community. The guide, designed primarily for journalists and writers, contains video, audio and photographic content to illustrate the diversity of intersex identities, bodies and characteristics…

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More on intersex terminology

There are two fundamental issues that must be considered when considering terminology around intersex. Intersex is a scientific term that describes all differences of sex biology within the animal kingdom that are not hermaphroditic…