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+ inclusion training

    The following training is available for staff who would like to learn more about LGBTIQA+ inclusion, gender diversity, gender expression, sexual orientation, attraction and allyship.

    Walking in Rainbow Shoes

    This short (approx 30 minutes) online module was developed by the Australian Red Cross and Pride in Diversity to raise awareness and provide participants with foundational understanding of LGBTI inclusion, focusing on the workplace.

    Interested staff can complete this module anytime through Charles Sturt's staff e-learning system, ELMO.

    Complete Walking in Rainbow Shoes

    LGBTIQA+ Awareness

    LGBTIQA+ Awareness provides a foundational understanding of key terms and concepts, some of the unique challenges faced by the LGBTIQA+ community and actions you can take to be an active LGBTIQA+ ally.

    Sessions are delivered monthly by Pride in Diversity, Australia's not-for-profit employer support program for LGBTQ+ workplace inclusion who specialise in human resources, organisational change and workplace diversity.

    By completing this training, you will have an increased understanding of:

    • The importance of LGBTQ+ inclusion to organisations and within the workplace
    • Some of the workplace challenges faced by LGBTQ+ employees
    • How workplace culture can impact the lived experience of LGBTA+ employees
    • Key terminology and concepts.

    LGBTIQ+ Awareness training is available to any staff who would like to learn about LGBTIQA+ inclusion, terminology, gender diversity, gender expression, sexual orientation, attraction and LGBTQ+ allyship.

    Attendance at an LGBTIQA+ Awareness session is a pre-requisite for staff who would also like to complete Empowering Allies training and join the Ally Network.

    Register or learn more

    Empowering Allies

    This interactive session is delivered for Charles Sturt by Pride in Diversity, Australia's not-for-profit employer support program for LGBTQ+ workplace inclusion. Your Pride in Diversity trainer will be joined by Charles Sturt’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) team who will provide details about visible allyship at Charles Sturt and our Ally Network.

    By the end of this training, you should feel comfortable explaining:

    • The role of LGBTIQA+ allies
    • Possible ally actions
    • The importance of visibility
    • How to ‘call out’ problematic behaviours.

    Empowering Allies training is available for any staff who have completed LGBTIQA+ Awareness training in the last 12 months who would like to join the Ally Network or further their understanding of LGBTIQA+ inclusion.

    Once you've completed Empowering Allies training, you'll be provided with information about the Ally Network and how you can be a visible and active Ally at Charles Sturt.

    Register or learn more

    Trans and Gender Diverse Awareness

    This session is delivered by Pride in Diversity who will provide you with an overall understanding of binary and non-binary gender experiences and identities as part of the LGBTQ+ spectrum.

    The session will:

    • Explore the complex nature of gender identity and gender affirmation processes
    • Provide a level of comfort around terminology
    • Outline some of the unique challenges often faced by transgender and gender diverse employees
    • Provide information on how to support colleagues who are affirming their gender.

    Trans and Gender Diverse Awareness training is available to any staff who would like to learn how to foster a safe and inclusive environment for trans and gender diverse members of the university community.

    Register or learn more

    LGBTQ+ HR & Recruitment

    This session is delivered by Pride in Diversity and is tailored to HR professionals, recruitment teams and hiring managers to understand the specific issues faced by LGBTIQA+ employees and prospective employees.

    At the end of this session, you will have a deeper understanding of:

    • LGBTIQA+ awareness (principles, terms and concepts)
    • Why LGBTIQA+ inclusion is important for People & Culture teams and the important role they play (policy, process, behaviours, grievance reporting and data collection)
    • Why explicit LGBTIQA+ inclusion is important for attracting and recruiting diverse talent
    • How to identify policy and practice gaps and promote inclusive practice using an employee life cycle model
    • The issues that transgender and gender diverse people face in recruitment and selection for roles.

    LGBTQ+ HR & Recruitment training is available to any interested staff, but the session is tailored towards staff who are involved in recruitment activities (e.g. managers, supervisors, hiring managers, panel members, People and Culture staff).

    Register or learn more

  • 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, contact the Division of People and Culture Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team or Business Partnersa 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 affirmation support

    The University provides support where a staff member affirms their gender identity. The Division of People and Culture, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team are able to assist with coordinating a workplace transition plan and appropriate workplace training for teams.

    We're in the process of creating a suite of new resources to support the implementation of Charles Sturt's Enterprise Agreement including resources for staff affirming their gender to access Gender Affirmation leave. In the interim, staff may continue to use the resources below, or can contact the Equity Diversity and Inclusion team for more information.

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

    TransHub have a wealth of resources to help colleagues, employers and educators to be supportive trans allies.

  • 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 behaviours 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, Business Partners, or Employee Relations teams.

    The following individuals from these teams have completed LGBTIQA+ Awareness and Empowering Allies training and have an excellent understanding of LGBTIQA+ sensitivities and potential areas of concern.

    • Kirsty Smith – Manager, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
    • Erika Cross – Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Adviser
    • Carli Baker – Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Adviser
    • Marissa Pideski – Business Partner
    • Kylie Bennett – Business Partner
    • Bronte Buesnell – Employee Relations Officer

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

  • LGBTIQA+ travel

    Travelling overseas can come with additional risk for LGBTIQA+ people in some destinations. The following resources provide advice and information regarding international travel for LGBTIQA+ employees or employees with LGBTIQA+ dependents.