LGBTIQA+ is one of the six focus areas in our Workplace Diversity Plan. LGBTIQA+ is the acronym used at Charles Sturt to recognise Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer/ Questioning, Asexual and other terms that people use to describe their experiences of their gender, sexuality, and physiological sex characteristics.

LGBTIQA+ and Ally Champions

Our LGBTIQA+ and Ally Champions advocate and promote matters related to inclusion and safety for LGBTIQA+ employees with all university stakeholders.

They support the university’s strategic objective of promoting a healthy, equitable and inclusive culture and outcomes within the Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Plan 2023-2025.

Professional Staff Champion

Profile photo of Sandra Sharpham

Sandra Sharpham, Executive Director, Student Experience

"Diversity enriches workplace culture through providing more exposure to different lived experiences as well as bringing more voices to the table for the development of respectful, inclusive policies and practices. For Charles Sturt University this will impact both the staff and student experience. As a University that serves some of our most under-represented students it is important that we increase our diversity in our culture so that we are championing inclusivity in everything we do."

Academic Staff Champion

Profile photo of Megan Smith

Professor Megan Smith, Executive Dean, Faculty of Science

"After practicing as a clinical physiotherapist, I joined Charles Sturt as an academic in 1999 and have held a range of roles over that time. As Executive Dean, my goal is to positively impact on the health of people whose preference, like mine, is to live, work and study in rural Australia."

Information, resources and support

We are committed to building a culture that respects and embraces diversity, including differences around sex and/or gender identity and sexuality.

  • Ally Network

    What is the Ally Network?

    An informal visible network of students and staff who are identified Allies to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual, or members of related communities (LGBTIQA+). The Network acknowledges and supports sexual, sex, and gender diversity at Charles Sturt University.

    How do you join the Network?

    Membership is open to staff and students who have completed LGBTIQA+ Awareness and Empowering Allies training (see below for more info). 

    History of the Network and achievements

    Charles Sturt University’s Ally Network was established in 2014. Since this time, the Ally Network has contributed to:

    • Charles Sturt’s Institutional Support for Marriage Equality
    • marking and celebrating key dates of significance to the LGBTIQA+ community
    • sponsoring and participating in regional LGBTIQA+ events
    • permanent signs of visibility on campus
    • continued advocacy and advancement of inclusion for LGBTIQA+ staff and students.

    Previous webinars

    • August 28th 2020 - Wear It Purple virtual morning tea recording
    • August 31st 2020 - EPHEA presents: Implementing All-Gender Facilities at a Higher Education Institution recording
    • May 20th 2021 - IT WAS A RIOT! –  IDAHOBIT Celebrations – An Evening With The 78’ers recording
    • October 7th 2021 - Celebrate Coming Out  with Charles Sturt and Georgia College (USA) - event recording

    Find a Charles Sturt Ally

    Visit Find an Ally for a full list of current allies.

  • LGBTIQA+ training

    We offer LGBTIQA+ Awareness and Empowering Allies training to staff and students who would like to learn about LGBTIQA+ inclusion, gender diversity, gender expression, sexual orientation, attraction and allyship.

    Staff and students can attend an LGBTIQA+ Awareness session to learn more, or they can attend both the Awareness and Empowering Allies sessions to become a member of the Charles Sturt Ally Network.

    Each session runs for 1.5 hours via videoconference in a safe and respectful learning environment.

    LGBTIQA+ Awareness training

    Who can attend?

    Staff and students who would like to learn more about LGBTIQA+ inclusion. This session provides participants with a foundational understanding of key terms and concepts, some of the unique challenges faced by the LGBTIQA+ community and actions they can take to be active LGBTIQA+ allies.

    When and how?

    Sessions are delivered over Zoom from 10:00 am - 11:30 am on the following dates:

    • 18 April
    • 25 May
    • 27 June
    • 27 July
    • 5 September
    • 2 November

    What’s covered?

    • The importance of creating an inclusive university culture
    • Some of the experiences of LGBTIQA+ people
    • The differences and diversity of sex characteristics, gender identity, and expression and sexual orientation
    • Actions that individuals can take to be active allies

    Register for LGBTIQA+ Awareness training

    Empowering Allies training

    Who can attend?

    Staff and students who have completed an LGBTIQA+ Awareness session (delivered by Charles Sturt or Pride in Diversity) who wish to become a visible Ally and join the Ally Network. This session covers the importance of visible allies, the role of allies and actions that allies can take to foster a safe and inclusive university for the LGBTIQA+ community.


    Sessions are delivered over Zoom from 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm on the following dates:

    • 18 April
    • 25 May
    • 27 June
    • 27 July
    • 5 September
    • 2 November

    What’s covered?

    • The role of allies
    • Ally actions
    • The importance of visibility
    • How one might call out problematic behaviours

    Register for Empowering Allies Training

    External training options

    LGBTIQA+ Awareness training is also available to Charles Sturt staff through Pride in Diversity who deliver monthly online sessions.

    Staff and students who have completed LGBTIQA+ Awareness training through Pride in Diversity are welcome to register for Charles Sturt's Empowering Allies training. Please indicate that you have completed your training through Pride in Diversity when you register.

    See Pride in Diversity LGBTIQA+ Awareness training dates

    See below for more information about Charles Sturt's Pride in Diversity membership below if you require login details to register for training.

  • Pride in Diversity and the Australian Workplace Equality Index

    Charles Sturt University is a member of Pride in Diversity, Australia's not-for-profit employer support program for LGBTQ workplace inclusion. Pride in Diversity specialises in human resources, organisational change and workplace diversity.

    Charles Sturt staff can access member resources including e-news, training, events and videos using the login details below.

    Username: CSU
    Password: CharlesSturtAllies2014

    *Please note, the username and password are both case-sensitive.

    Pride in Diversity Member Homepage

    Charles Sturt also participates in the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), a national benchmarking instrument for LGBTQ workplace inclusion that is published by Pride in Diversity.

  • Support at Charles Sturt

    We recognise that sex and gender identity are different. We also recognise that not everyone's gender identity aligns with their biological sex. Sex and gender are more complex than is the binary classification 'male/female'. The University follows the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender.

    Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team

    Contact the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team if you need support or have questions.

    Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

    The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) has an expanded range of support services available through our partner provider Converge International.

    Converge International understands that people face many challenges in their lives and that, sometimes, these require specialised support. Converge International has a specialist LGBTIQA+ helpline that provides support across issues specific to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer or Questioning people.

    You can access one session of specialist support (available during business hours only), in addition to your existing Employee Assistance Program services.

    Dress Codes

    Although Charles Sturt does not have any formal dress codes, all employees are supported to dress in a manner that best reflects their gender identity, including transgender, gender diverse and/or non-binary employees.

    If you would like to talk to someone or require further information, please contact the Equity & Diversity team, Division of People and Culture Business Partners, a trained Ally member, or a senior staff member.

    Gender-Neutral/All Gender Facilities on campus

    Charles Sturt University has a number of all-gender facilities available to students and staff across our University campuses.

    Note: this list does not include access toilets, which are also available for use by people of all genders. To view a full interactive map of Charles Sturt campuses, please visit FMCentral.

    Port Macquarie8021324
  • Gender transition support

    The University provides support where a staff member affirms their gender identity. Working alongside the staff member, the Division of People and Culture will coordinate a workplace transition plan and appropriate workplace training.

    Gender Affirmation Process
    Supporting gender affirmation at Charles Sturt

    ACON has created a useful language guide for trans and gender diverse inclusion.

  • Inclusion at Charles Sturt

    Our Enterprise Agreement provides for an inclusive definition of family. Immediate family refers to an employee's partner/spouse or former partner/spouse, de facto spouse or former de facto spouse (includes same-sex, transgender, intersex and heterosexual partnerships); or their child or adult child (including their adopted child, step child, ex-nuptial child or foster child), parent, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law or sister-in-law. Other kinship and family networks may be considered on a case by case basis, including persons for whom the employee has significant carer responsibilities.

    All policies at Charles Sturt are fully inclusive of LGBTIQA+ people are their families. Examples include:

  • Protection from bullying, discrimination, and harassment

    Legislation protects the rights of LGBTIQA+ individuals to be free from discrimination and harassment. Charles Sturt is committed to preventing discrimination and harassment of staff or students based on sex characteristics, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity. This is outlined in our:

    These policies provide students or staff members experiencing harassment and/or bullying with guidance on seeking resolution.

    Some examples of behaviour that would constitute bullying or harassment are:

    • Distributing an email that has jokes about ‘poofters’ and ‘dykes’
    • Telling a bisexual person they are just on their way to being gay
    • Telling a trans employee that she should not be in the female bathroom because she is not a ‘real’ woman
    • Asking a trans man what surgeries he has had
    • Refusing to hire an intersex employee as it may mean they need time off for medical reasons
    • Telling an intersex employee that it really means they are trans
  • Intersex awareness

    In line with Charles Sturt's equity policies of a higher education environment that is inclusive, safe and respectful of all persons, we support a culture that acknowledges and supports sexual, sex and gender diversity.

    Up to 2% of people are born with sex characteristics that don't fit male/female medical norms.

    Of serious concern, stigma continues to influence medical professionals who are forcing Intersex people to have surgery to conform to these binary norms. This needs to stop. Everyone has the right to determine what happens to their body. Many intersex people suffer the physical and emotional effects from such interventions, and related shame and secrecy.

    More information and resources can be found at:

  • Complaints and grievances

    If you would like confidential information or assistance on how to deal with bullying and harassment, or report bullying and harassment, please contact the Division of People and Culture's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team or Business Partners, or a senior staff member.

    LGBTIQA+ Allies within the Division of People and Culture and the wider University can be found here. These individuals have undertaken LGBTIQA+ Awareness and Empowering Allies training and have an excellent understanding of LGBTIQA+ sensitivities and potential areas of concern and confidentiality is assured.

    More information on complaints and grievances, how to lodge a complaint, what to expect, and handling guides, can be found here.