Interactive timeline


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This timeline depicts the history of Spectrum Center and LGBTQIA2S+ advocacy at the University of Michigan. Highlighting key moments, it includes photos, video, and newspaper clippings starting with the center's beginnings in 1971 (as the Human Sexuality Office) to the present day.


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Five chapters address distinct periods in the evolution of LGBTQ+ advocacy at the University of Michigan.

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I: From student protests to sexuality office

Early years of student activism and formation of the Human Sexuality Office in the early 1970s

II: Campaign for bylaw change

Shifting political landscapes of the 1970s and 1980s and grassroots efforts toward sexual orientation protections

III: Lesbian and gay victories and movement toward trans inclusion

LGBT office’s transformation in the 1990s and increased transgender advocacy

IV: Progress through policy

U-M’s advances in gender identity protections in the 2000s and 2010s

V: Moving into the next 50 years

Contemporary focus of the Spectrum Center



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Wayfinding and color coding

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The timeline is divided into five distinct, color-coded chapters, highlighting the major shifts and developments in LGBTQ+ activism, advocacy, and policy-making at the University of Michigan. Interspersed within the campus history are some key national and state events, shown in gray, to provide a broader context for our local developments.

Viewers may navigate the timeline chronologically from start to finish to understand the full historical narrative. Or you can also skip to eras of interest by selecting chapter titles along the top. Note that the acronyms and terms used (gay, lesbian, queer, LGBT and LGBTQ+) are specific to each historical period.




Learn even more about queer history at U-M

 Find oral histories, archive collections, and more. 






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We thank Dr. Ana Popovic, who led our research and the curation of entries for this timeline, and Bentley Historical Library, Hatcher Library Special Collections, and the Ann Arbor District Library for their research assistance and archives. This timeline was created using Timeline by Northwestern University's Knight Lab.

Have any questions?

Contact us at [email protected].