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  • La Lengua

for those who want to help: a response from a queer southern latina living in Anishinaabewaki (MI)

Updated: Jan 2, 2020


One Rise One Fall You Come For One You Come For All

Si Cae Unx Caemos Todxs Vas Por Unx Vas Por Todxs

يدًا بيد، من يتعدى على احد منا كأنه تعدى علينا جميعًا

-from Southerners on New Ground-

As a queer Chicana/Boricua from the south, the Pulse, Orlando shooting filled me with both deep grief and incendiary rage. I am angered by the ways homophobia, racism, transphobia, police brutality, Islamophobia, ableism, xenophobia and colonialism continue to manifest as chronic, often state-sanctioned, violence and against our queer/trans communities of color. I am tired of burying our people.

But I am emboldened by the work of organizations like Southerners on New Ground (SONG) and Los Gran Varones that center & celebrate the lives queer/trans communities of color and believe that our response to this tragedy must not further contribute to the marginalization of our people. I am given hope by those who continue to cumbia, salsa, & bachata to the beat of liberation (and perreo).

In the aftermath of this tragedy, I am grateful for healing justice resources made by and for Black/Indigenous people of color. I am grateful for the community we create in spaces like MICCA’s Queerceañera. And I am so damn grateful for the foundation queer southern family provides to keep me moving forward in the Midwest and beyond.

As people begin to ask “Where can I volunteer my time” and “Where can I donate?” and “What can I do to support the local Lansing LGBTQ community?” I’ve been reaching out to folks and compiling a list (below) of organizations that serve the LGBTQIA community in Michigan and the greater Lansing area.

I’ve selected each organization based on 1) their history in the community 2) their core mission/values and have categorized based on the types of services they provide.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, it is a work in progress. I’ve only lived in Lansing 2 years and am still learning about the LGBTQIA/ people of color communities. I'm committed to learning and connecting more.

Please email me ( with any questions or if you want to add an org to the list.

[image, Julio Salgado, 2016]

[Image description: An illustration by queer/Latinx artist Julio Salgado depicts four people of color of various shapes, shades, and sizes mid-dance on a blue background. They are framed by flowers. Text directly above the four dancing queer/trans people of color reads: No Paren de Bailar. Text directly below the four dancing beauties reads: Don't stop dancing.]

La lengua & her brother at Queerceañera, a queer dance party held in Lansing, MI, 2016

[Image description: Two brown queer latinx siblings stand side by side. They are clasping each other's hands above their heads, in a celebratory pose. The sibling on the left wearing a rainbow cape over her drag-king suit coat. The sibling on the right is wearing a black turtle neck, orange corn-seed necklace, and log rainbow haired wig. They both are smiling.]


Brief list of organizations serving LGBTQIA+ peoples in Michigan and the greater Lansing area


Direct-Service Orgs

Transcend the Binary

Provide medical and mental health services for Trans and Gender-non-Conforming people. Based in Ferndale, but provides services to Trans and Gender-non-conforming people in the greater Lansing area.

L.A.A.N. (Lansing Area Aids Network)

Dedicated to the delivery of services and programs designed to meet the needs of those living with HIV/AIDS and to help prevent the further spread of the virus.

To respond effectively, knowledgeably, and compassionately to the challenges brought about by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Educational, Social and Cultural Orgs

Greater Lansing Umbrella

This is a place for building community and resources for gender and sexual diversity in Lansing. Click here for their LGBTQ community calendar on Teamup.

Lansing Association for Human Rights

LAHR's mission is to improve the quality of life for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people throughout the greater Lansing area through civil rights activities, communication, education, social events, and supportive services

Youth Serving Organizations

T.R.U.E (Teens Understanding and Respecting Each-other)

The LGBTQ Support Group, or T.R.U.E. (Teens Respecting and Understanding Each Other) is a program from Gateway, which helps lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth between the ages of 14 and 18 in the Lansing area. The mission of T.R.U.E. is to provide a safe space that is free from bullying, homophobia, biphobia, & transphobia for LGBTQ youth and allies ages 14-18.


Advocacy & Legal Support Organizations

Equality Michigan

Website| Facebook

Equality Michigan works to achieve full equality and respect for all people in Michigan regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Educational, Social and Cultural Orgs

Michigan Pride

Website| Facebook

Michigan Pride Provides education, outreach, support and events for LGBT people.

***MI Pride is currently looking for volunteers to help with this year’s Pride Celebration on August 27, 2016. Click here for the volunteer form.


Advocacy & Legal Support Organizations

Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund

TLDEF is committed to ending discrimination based upon gender identity and expression and to achieving equality for transgender people.

Black and Pink

Black & Pink is an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and “free world” allies who support each other. Our work toward the abolition of the prison industrial complex is rooted in the experience of currently and formerly incarcerated people. We are outraged by the specific violence of the prison industrial complex against LGBTQ people, and respond through advocacy, education, direct service, and organizing.

Sylvia Rivera Law Project

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression.

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence. SRLP is a collective organization founded on the understanding that gender self-determination is inextricably intertwined with racial, social and economic justice. Therefore, we seek to increase the political voice and visibility of low-income people and people of color who are transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming. SRLP works to improve access to respectful and affirming social, health, and legal services for our communities. We believe that in order to create meaningful political participation and leadership, we must have access to basic means of survival and safety from violence.

Transgender Law Center

Transgender Law Center changes law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression.

We envision a future where gender self-determination and authentic expression are seen as basic rights and matters of common human dignity.

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