The Department is committed to building diverse and inclusive workplaces and developing workplace cultures that are safe and accessible, build respect, foster inclusiveness, promote diversity and embrace the unique skills and qualities of all our employees.
Providing supported, authentic workplaces for DET Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) employees is integral to building a culture of respect and dignity for all. LGBTI employees are entitled to fully participate in their workplace without fear of offensive, harassing, bullying or discriminatory behaviour.
Managers and school leaders are responsible for ensuring that the human rights of LGBTI employees are protected, and that workplaces are respectful and inclusive to employee sexual diversity.
Sex, Gender, Sexual Orientation
Sex, gender and sexual orientation mean different things. Sex refers to a person's biological sex characteristics. This has historically been understood as either female or male. However, we now know that some people are born with natural variations to sex characteristics that do not squarely fit into this binary. An intersex person is born with physical sex characteristics, such as their sex chromosomes and reproductive organs, which do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies.
Gender can be expressed in different ways, such as through behaviour or physical appearance. Gender identity refers to a person's internal feelings of being male, female, neither or somewhere in between. Someone's gender identity is determined by the individual, and not necessarily linked to the sex they were assigned at birth. Gender expression is the way a person outwardly expresses their gender, through the way they dress, how they move, talk, behave and present themselves. The most common ways people express their gender is through presenting as feminine, masculine or androgynous. The way we express our gender does not necessarily have to align with our gender identity. For example, a person could be assigned female at birth and identify as being female but express themselves in an androgynous way by wearing stereotypically masculine clothes. A transgender or trans person is someone whose gender does not exclusively align with the sex they were assigned at birth. A non-binary, agender or genderqueer person does not identify exclusively with being female or male. A cisgender person has a gender identity aligned with the sex they were assigned at birth.
Sexual orientation describes a person's physical and/or emotional attraction to others. This is different to gender identity and expression – a transgender or non-binary person can be gay, lesbian, bisexual or straight. An asexual person does not experience sexual attraction, but may feel other types of attraction, such as romantic and emotional attraction.
See the LGBTI Inclusive Workplaces Guidelines in the link below for further details and information.
LGBTI Employees and their legal rights
In Victoria you must not discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or lawful sexual activity.
The Equal Opportunity Act also has a 'positive duty' to make sure that organisations prevent discrimination happening in the first place, rather than responding after a complaint has been made.
The Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities also says that public authorities (for example state and local government funded services) must act in ways that are compatible with human rights, such as taking relevant human rights into account when they are making decisions.
At DET, LGBTI employees can find support through a range of avenues. See the links below under related topics for further guidance.
How can I be more LGBTI inclusive in my work?
You could be more inclusive in your work by:
- encouraging inclusive language in daily conversation such as not assuming things like sexual orientation or marital status (for example partner or spouse)
- reflecting diversity in the people you include in photographs and illustrations;
- designing and developing infrastructure that supports gender diverse people, such as uni-sex toilets;
- drafting forms and surveys that are inclusive of gender diverse people e.g. leaving the section prompting the gender of the person completing the form blank, or reconsidering whether it is necessary to ask this.
The LGBTI Inclusive Workplaces Guidelines provide further advice and information on strategies to be more LGBTI inclusive.
Policy & Guidelines
- LGBTI Inclusive Workplaces Guide (PDF) (WORD)
- Equal Opportunity and Anti-Discrimination Policy (PDF) (WORD)
- Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2017-2020 (PDF) (WORD)