As Fergus Pride organizer mourns son's death, protestors expected at weekend event
After the recent loss of her son, a Fergus Falls mom has helped start a Pride Festival.
Fergus Falls, Minn. — 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 became apparent 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 one girl in Alexanderia at a Target (who) saw my shirt that said "Fergus Pride" on it and she said, 'there's Pride in Fergus?' and I said, 'yeah,' and she goes, 'they let you do that?'" Frandson said.
Friday, several businesses and store fronts featured Pride symbols and posters. A stark change from last year.
"Last year it was hard," she said. "There was 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 days ago, Krystyne's 20-year-old son. Jette drowned in a swimming accident in Detroit Lakes. It was Jette who worked with his mom to establish the SAGA Youth Center in Fergus Falls. A place for LGBTQ teens in a conservative part of Minnesota.
"He loved in the moment, all the time. All the time," Frandson said, speaking about her son. "He wouldn't want the credit for all of this, but I mean, this is happening because of him."
Flyers have begun to spring up around Minnesota, urging people to protest Pride in Fergus Falls. The expected protesters on social media are using the phrase, "Save our Children, Save our Future," but Frandson says that is what Pride is all about. Saving the kids from the hate.
"It tells me that it was needed and that people are becoming more courageous 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 to be, 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.