Fergus Falls, Minnesota – On Friday, June 24, city crews prepared a public park for Fergus Pride the coming weekend. The woman who organized the first one a year ago is already seeing progress.
“It just occurred to me that this particular part of rural Minnesota needed Pride,” said Pride organizer Krystyne Frandson.
People couldn’t believe Krystyne Frandson had the guts to pull it off.
“I actually had a girl in Alexanderia at a target (who) saw my shirt that said ‘Fergus Pride’ and she said, ‘There’s pride in Fergus? and I said, ‘yeah,’ and she was like, ‘they let you do that?'” Frandson said.
On Friday, several businesses and storefronts displayed Pride symbols and signs. A drastic change from last year.
“Last year was tough,” she said. “There were a lot of people who wanted to support, but they were afraid of how it would affect their business, how it would affect their reputation, their friendships.”
Just a few days ago, Krystyne’s 20-year-old son. Jette drowned in a swimming accident in Detroit Lakes. It was Jette who worked with her mother to establish the SAGA Youth Center in Fergus Falls. A place for LGBTQ teens in a conservative part of Minnesota.
“He loved the moment, all the time. All the time,” Frandson said, of his son. “He wouldn’t want the credit for all of this, but I mean, it’s because of him that this is happening.”
Flyers have started appearing in Minnesota urging people to protest Pride in Fergus Falls. Protesters expected on social media are using the phrase ‘Save our children, save our future’, but Frandson says that’s what it’s all about. Save children from hate.
“It tells me that it was necessary and that people are becoming braver and more supportive and they are sending signals to the LGBTQ community here that you are welcome, and we love you, and these are safe places, and you can build a family and grow a business here. You can stay here,” Krystyne said.
Jette may be gone, but his mother and so many who believe in what he quietly fought for say they are keeping the effort alive.