Introduction to LGBTQIA2S+ Communities and Identities web course

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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.

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Start your learning here.

We've created this web course to be accessible, relevant, and immediately useful—a valuable foundational resource for your learning journey about gender, sexuality, and LGBTQIA2S+ identities.

"Introduction to LGBTQIA2S+ Communities and Identities" is designed to complement classroom learning and additional professional development opportunities related to diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging. 

The course includes focused attention 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. 

Participation in this course is voluntary, unless you are completing it prior to attending one of our more advanced educational workshops.

Learning outcomes

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This course provides participants with a solid foundation of knowledge and prepares them for further learning.


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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.


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Open to UM-affiliated individuals with valid U-M email addresses.

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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.


Have any questions?

If you've completed the web course, please let us know what you thought by completing the post-course survey. Want to get in touch about something else? Contact us at [email protected].