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Gender identity and sexual orientation: a glossary
  1. Jennifer Ervin1,
  2. Anna Scovelle1,
  3. Brendan Churchill2,
  4. Humaira Maheen1,
  5. Tania King1
  1. 1 Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 School of Social and Political Sciences, Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Ms Jennifer Ervin, Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia; jennifer.ervin{at}


Gender and sexually diverse populations remain understudied and under-represented in research. This is attributable not only to significant and ongoing data collection limitations, where large population-based studies fail to ask adequate questions around gender and sexuality, but also due to continuously evolving terminology in this space. This glossary takes a preliminary step in rectifying these issues by defining and clarifying the application and understanding of key terms related to gender, gender identity, expression and sexuality. In doing so, this glossary provides a point of reference for understanding key differences in gender and sexually diverse terminology to (1) help guide researchers and practitioners in the use and understanding of terms and (2) facilitate the utility of more respectful, inclusive and consistent language application across the public health arena.

  • Health inequalities

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  • Twitter @JenLErvin, @AScovelle, @BrenChurchill, @humairamaheen, @TaniaLKing

  • Contributors TLK conceived and structured the glossary. JLE researched, designed and wrote the glossary manuscript. AS, BC and HM contributed to glossary design and terminology refinement. JLE and AS consulted with wider stakeholders. All authors contributed to drafts of the manuscript and approved the final version.

  • Funding This study was funded by Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project & ARC Discovery Early Career Award (TK) (DE200100607, LP180100035).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2023. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.