LGBTIQ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer. These terms describe sexual orientation, gender identity and sex variation. Queer is an umbrella term for people who do not identify as heterosexual and/or cisgender.

It is important to recognise that LGBTIQ does not cover all forms of diversity and is not meant to be limiting.  

Health issues for LGBTIQ people can occur through stigma, stereotyping, discrimination, harassment, exclusion and other barriers to health service access. Specific health issues can occur for each group. People who identify as LGBTIQ might also be hesitant to disclose their sexual orientation to health practitioners. This means they may be less likely to receive the screening and healthcare support they need.

LGBTIQ+ Health Scoping Study

ACT Health Directorate undertook the LGBTIQ+ Health Scoping Study in 2019-20 which identified 24 recommendations to improve access and inclusion for the LGBTIQ+ community in health services across the ACT. 

LGBTIQ Specific Health Issues

Lesbian women

Lesbian women are women who are romantically, emotionally, physically and sexually attracted to other women.

Lesbians and women who have sex with women can experience the effects of discrimination and misinformation from medical professionals. In particular, there is a myth that lesbian women do not need to have cervical cancer screening. This not the case, and can place lesbian women at risk of cervical cancer not being detected early.

Gay men

Gay men are men who are romantically, emotionally, physically and sexually attracted to other men.

Gay men and men who have sex with men engaging in unprotected sex, particularly anal sex, are more likely to contract and spread HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.


Bisexuals are people of any gender who may be romantically, emotionally, physically and sexually attracted to more than one sex/gender.

Bisexual people are less likely to disclose their sexual orientation to health practitioners. As a result, bisexual people are less likely to receive the screening, and healthcare supports that other people in either of these groups might receive.

Transgender people

Transgender people are people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs to their sex assigned at birth. Transgender individuals may identify their gender as female, male, both or neither.

Transgender people who want to use medical supports to transition, need access to a range of health practitioners including general practitioners, endocrinologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and plastic surgeons.  Transgender people are at risk of being victims of sexual violence, domestic violence, and physical abuse. Transgender people also have higher rates of HIV infection than the general population, especially in trans men.


Intersex is an umbrella term for people who are born with atypical sex characteristics. Sex characteristics include: chromosomes, genes, external genitalia, internal reproductive organs, hormones, and secondary characteristics (like body hair).

Intersex people may have ongoing health impacts associated with medical interventions. For example, cosmetic surgery may have been performed which can result in lack of sensation, loss of reproductive capacity, hormonal imbalances, and mental ill health.

Conditions linked to intersex variations include osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, obesity, heart problems, and in smaller numbers, kidney issues, scoliosis or chronic eczemaxix.

These can be from the variation itself (such as Turner’s syndrome) or from interventions to address characteristics of the variation (such as hormone therapy).

Page last updated on: 16 Nov 2021