Grand Forks embraces diversity with pride festival

Grand Forks Pride is an annual event celebrating the diversity of the city. Photo courtesy of

This past weekend, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community came together to show support, spread awareness and celebrate love. In the midst of a gloomy and rainy day, the Greater Grand Forks Area could still find a splash of color at the American Legion Saturday afternoon. Due to inclement weather, the 2nd Annual Pride in the Park, which was originally going to be held on the Greenway, was forced inside. But that didn’t stop the crowds from turning up.

“It’s nice to support everyone who might not get that support at home,” said Sarah Wren, an LGBT supporter. For some, events like Pride in the Park are all they have. There isn’t always the support of friends and/or family, and sometimes, they are left feeling alone. “Meeting up here and seeing other people who have gone through similar problems, I feel at home,” said Wren, an NDSU student.

People who identify as being LGBT clearly are not alone. With booths from various organizations, businesses and churches from around the community, there were a lot of voices aligning with these people. Katie Davidson, Director of the International Center at UND, had a booth at the event because she wanted the LGBT community to know that there are safe places on campus for people to go to. It was especially a statement to help the international LGBT students at UND feel free to be who they are, even if back home they couldn’t be.

With music blasting and people buzzing, Pride in the Park seemed to have the atmosphere that Organizers Kyle Thorson and Bev and Sue Quirk were hoping for. “It’s a great opportunity for people within the community to come together and celebrate the diversity here in Grand Forks,” said Kyle about the event. He went on further to talk about how it isn’t just for openly gay or lesbian people. There are still a lot of people who haven’t come out yet in this area because of the stereotypes surrounding rural areas. “It’s a space to let you know that there are people who support you.”

Becky understood this all too well, with having a gay relative. “I have always told all my children that I will be happy if they marry the love of their life. It doesn’t matter if that person has the same gender as them or not. That person just has to be a good person.” Although Becky is a strong ally for the LGBT community, not everyone is, even within her own family. That’s why she is such a passionate advocate.

Pride in the Park is an event to show that being who you are is the only way to be. With such a strong support system, members of the LGBT community will come to realize that there is nothing to fix about themselves and that there will always be someone there for them. “It’s not broken.” Becky said. “They’re perfect.”

Rachel Cox is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]