Lansing’s LGBTQ+ community on high alert after Strange Matter Coffee receives threat

“We’re not panicking, but we are trying to act cautiously.”
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 7:26 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Strange Matter Coffee, an LGBTQ-owned business in Michigan, is still closed after receiving a threatening 10-page letter on Tuesday.

The letter not only impacted Strange Matter Coffee but also other LGBTQ businesses in Lansing.

Background: Lansing coffee company temporarily closes due to threatening letter

Armon Caston, Artisan Salon manager, expressed his shock and concern about the threatening letter.

“It’s chaos,” Caston said. “It’s wild that people are sending around random threats like that.”

Caston, a member of the LGBTQ community, added that the incident has prompted people to reconsider their safety.

“I think it has raised some eyebrows to want to look into rewiring or recalibrating safety for our community,” said Caston.

Strange Matter Coffee owner Elaine Barr said she was concerned for the safety of her staff and customers.

“The letter was full of hate speech, hate symbols, antisemitic sorts of language,” Barr said. “Definitely some threatening phrases and implications towards violence.”

Strange Matter Coffee will be closed until Friday. The FBI is investigating this and other similar threats at other businesses.

Gathering Coffee Co. in Detroit also closed Tuesday after receiving a similar threatening 10-page letter.

“We’re not panicking, but we are trying to act cautiously,” said Barr.

Kelsey Maccombs, the founder of Constellation Cat Cafe, another LGBTQ-run business in the area, expressed her shock about the situation. She said it’s uneasy knowing a business close to them received a threat.

“When you’re a queer-run coffee shop and another queer-run coffee shop four miles away from you is getting threats, that it’s scary,” said Maccombs.

Maccombs has seen LGBTQ groups targeted in the past and wants her employees to be able to work without fear for their safety.

The names of the other businesses that received the threatening letter are unknown at this time.

The investigation is ongoing.

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