We affirm Indigenous sovereignty and acknowledge that the Salus Center occupies the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands of the Anishinaabeg--Three Fires Confederacy of Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi peoples.
What We Do
Collaborate with individuals and community groups to host/facilitate events and activities that promote an inclusive and informed LGBTQIA+ community in Lansing
Partner with local organizations to amplify and advocate for the specific needs of the LGBTQIA+ community in Lansing
Serve as an information clearinghouse for LGBTQIA+ resources
We envision a Lansing LGBTQIA+ community that thrives without barriers.
The Salus Center serves Lansing’s LGBTQIA+ communities as a gathering space and information hub, and we advocate for the rights of our community members by honoring and affirming the interconnectedness of oppression. We empower you to build on the legacy of LGBTQIA+ activism and manifest a life that is authentic, safe, and full.
Lansing's only LGBTQIA+ Community Center
The Salus Center was founded in 2017 by Phiwa Langeni to fulfill the need he saw in Lansing for a central and intersectional LGBTQIA+ community center. The center moved locations to our current downtown residence on Washington Square in 2018. When Phiwa stepped down from their role in 2020, the tri-directors, Oprah Jrenal, Izze Copeland, and Dio Aldridge, took on leadership roles to steward Salus into a new era in the midst of the pandemic. Since their year of vital work, the Salus Center has been led by a board of directors. As of 2023, the Salus Center continues to grow, now with our first full-time employee and increasing support groups and community partnerships.
The Rev. Phiwa Langeni (he/they) is the founder and former Executive Director of the Salus Center. Originally from South Africa, the Rev. Phiwa [pronounced PEE-wah] Langeni is passionate about helping people understand that difference doesn’t have to be dangerous. As a trans-masculine genderqueer person who lived in Lansing, Phiwa knows how important community is for queer and trans folks, and was instrumental in bringing people together to build and sustain a vibrant LGBTQIA+ community.
In 2017, Phiwa opened the Salus Center at 624 E Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI 48912, moved it to its current location in 2018, and served the Center as Executive Director until the summer of 2020. Under Phiwa’s stewardship, more than 17 social and support groups were formed and countless connections were made to support local queer and trans individuals. Phiwa ushered in a spirit of connection to the Lansing LGBTQIA+ community and planted the seeds for a robust and inclusive future.
Phiwa has entrusted Salus Center to the LGBTQIA+ community of Lansing. We all must work together with love and humility in order to continue to support this incredible community.
Phiwa on the meaning of "Salus":
Salus is the Latin word for wholeness and well-being, which is at the core of our mission, values, and practices. This name was chosen because it’s uncommon enough to exist without the baggage of some equivalent words already in regular rotation. As a community, we can together create what salus means in this time and place in relevant and relatable ways. Put simply, Salus Center is about cultivating and encouraging people to grow into their fullest selves, not just the identity-specific issues that face them at any given time. While, yes, we continue addressing the symptoms of having particular identities in a world that isn’t always ready to receive us, we will also be focusing on healing the internal divides LGBTQ folk have learned to embody as a matter of survival and safety.
No one ought to find the need to diminish any aspect of themself for the sake of community. In my experience, for example, if I want to be in religious spaces, to keep my queerness intact, I often have to be in primarily white spaces and tone down my blackness. If I want to be unapologetically black in religious spaces, I often have to check my queerness at the door. When I’m in queer spaces, it has become necessary to squelch my religious identity because of the harm and violence done in the name of religion (and particularly Christianity in this part of the world). From this posture, Salus Center’s very existence is an ever-evolving work of art; (re)creating space and possibility for many who have few places, if any, to fully embody the many aspects of their lives.
It is a place in which a person can bring their fullest selves, no matter the combination of their identities.
"Over the course of my life, I’ve had difficulty fitting in because of my gender identity, sexuality, age, ethnicity, race, and even being a young and single parent. My firsthand experience of such exclusion makes me passionate about creating spaces where folk can gather fully and be in community with other full selves desiring to be whole."
- Phiwa Langeni