LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — For nearly 2 decades, Suits and the City has brought the LGBTQ+ community together in the Lansing and mid-Michigan area.
Laughter, good food, and great conversations are what you can expect from a Suits and the City meet up. It’s a nonprofit organization in Lansing that hosts networking events at a variety of businesses throughout mid-Michigan for the LGBTQ+ community.
“It’s very important to us that we be visible in the community. That’s why we go out to restaurants and bars and hotels and whatever,” said board member, Linda Sarnelle.
From network meet ups to a gala, Suits and the City has created a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community to connect.
“Recognition from local business and validation that we can be in this community and this area and be welcomed,” said board member, Mario Gonzalez.
Chair of the organization, Lorenzo Lopez, said you never know who you’ll run into at a Suits event.
“You might meet a doctor. You might meet a plumber. You might me an architect,” Lopez said.
While “suits” is in the name, Lopez said it is not a dress code requirement.
“People ask, ‘Well, I don’t have a suit. Do I have to wear a suit?’ No, you don’t. We want you to be who you are,” Lopez said.
Being who you are is at the center of their mission.
“Shown members of the LGBTQ community that its okay to be out there. Its okay to be in public and its okay to go to restaurants and be yourself,” said Sarnelle.
While it’s a lot of laughter and fun times, the organization doesn’t shy away from deep discussions.
“We talk about the serious issues of the LGBTQ community like alcoholism, drug addiction, isolation, homophobia, homelessness,” Lopez said.
Along with those discussions amongst the group, they also have discussions with state and local officials, including law enforcement.
“We created a professional PowerPoint and it was very well received, not only by the police officers, which was great diversity amongst that, but by the chief and the staff,” Lopez said.
This is Suits and the City’s 20th year being an organization. For each of those years, it’s given countless number of people friendships to last a lifetime.
“I think for me the opportunity to kind of rebuild those queer friendly spaces and to socialize and build those connections,” Gonzales said.
Suits is currently building up funds for a college scholarship for local high school students.
The nonprofit holds events on the first Wednesday of every month. Members say everyone is invited, whether you’re a part of the LGBTQ+ community or not.