Introduction to LGBTQIA2S+ Communities and Identities web course

LGBTQIA2S+ poster

Launch web course

In Introduction to LGBTQIA2S+ Communities and Identities, we provide an overview of terms and topics related to gender, sexuality, and marginalization, with a focus on terms relevant to LGBTQIA2S+ communities. We also aim to disrupt misinformation you may have encountered, or even internalized, about LGBTQIA2S+ people. Our hope is that everyone will find value in this course.

This course is just a starting point. It is designed to complement classroom learning and additional professional development opportunities related to diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging. Participation in this course is voluntary, unless you are completing it prior to attending one of our more advanced educational workshops.

This course is focused on vocabulary and core concepts. Language related to identity is complicated, culturally-bound, and ever-evolving; often highly contested. So, although the frames and definitions we provide were carefully researched, rigorously discussed, and thoughtfully crafted, they're also not universal. We hope this is one valuable part of your learning journey about gender, sexuality, and LGBTQIA2S+ identities.


Learning outcomes

Upon taking this web course, participants will be able to:

  1. Deepen their understanding of LGBTQIA2S+ identities and communities.
  2. Gain understanding of terminology related to gender, sexuality, and attractionality.
  3. Make distinctions between the following concepts:
      • birth-assigned sex and gender.
      • gender identity, gender expression, and gender attribution.
      • sexuality and sexual orientation/identity.
  4. Identify different forms of oppression that impact the LGBTQIA2S+ communities.
  5. Name and engage two inclusive and affirming practices.

This course was developed to replace our previous Intro to LGBTQ+ Identities & Inclusive Language Workshop with the intention of establishing participants’ solid foundation of knowledge prior to live workshops. Our aim is that our workshops will be more engaging and enriching when more folks come to the space on a more comparable level of understanding.



The Introduction to LGBTQIA2S+ Communities and Identities web course is only open to UM-affiliated individuals. Specifically, you will need a U-M email to access the Canvas for this course. This means it is open to:

  • U-M students (of any standing, including Michigan Medicine students)
  • U-M staff
  • U-M faculty
  • U-M alumnx*

*U-M alumnx that graduated before Canvas was implemented will need to request a Canvas account prior to accessing the course. You can do so by emailing [email protected] with your uniqname and asking they create a Canvas account for you.


We'd love your feedback!

Introduction to LGBTQIA2S+ Communities and Identities was developed and published by the University of Michigan Spectrum Center with two goals in mind: expand our current educational offerings and provide a way to teach fundamental LGBTQIA2S+ terms and topics outside of our workshops. 

We hope that you'll have found the web course valuable. At the end of the web course, you'll be asked to complete a brief survey to help us evaluate the course and continue to improve upon it.

Although the content is theory-driven and data-informed, you may find yourself disagreeing with elements of this course. We invite you to share any concerns you may have through the survey, as well.

Launch web course