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Throwback Thursday: Fargo’s first gay pride week

Thanks in large part to the recent Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage in North Dakota, all signs indicate that this year's F-M Pride events will have an air of joy and relief.

1936545+pride.jpg
July 2, 1984: the scene from one of Fargo's first gay pride week celebrations at Lenny Tweeden's bar, My Place.
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Thanks in large part to the recent Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage in North Dakota, all signs indicate that this year’s F-M Pride events will have an air of joy and relief. Related: Big year for Pride: Organizers of annual local event expect largest crowds yet It’ll be a far cry from the city’s first recognized gay pride week in 1984, which sparked an uproar against the city’s then-mayor, Jon Lindgren. At the urging of gay-rights activist Lenny Tweeden, Lindgren signed a degree in June of that year formally recognizing the week’s gay pride celebrations. As The Forum reported at the time, the recognition was met with a steady stream of callers voicing protest to City Hall. City commissioners also voiced their opposition. “I do think there are many, many citizens in the community that will resent this kind of proclamation,” said Roy Pedersen, a city commissioner at the time, and he was right. The following days saw scores of letters to the editor written to The Forum, many of them critical of Lindgren and the declaration. Amid that uproar, Lindgren did find occasional support. “The mayor’s strong convictions may not be the most politically astute,” one letter to the editor said, “but when he challenges so-called standards and ‘sensibilities’ that are based on prejudice, misinformation, vindictiveness, plain stupidity and narrow-mindedness, we say, bravo!” Even under this dark cloud of opposition from the public at large, the week’s events bear some resemblance to modern F-M Pride Week celebrations. There was a picnic, a dance, some parties – even a drag queen. About 100 people were in attendance at the dance at Tweeden’s bar, My Place. The scene, while celebratory, also revealed the uphill battles many LGBT individuals faced. None of the interviewed attendees used their names. One interviewee voiced concern that his younger brother might be gay. “I hope to God he isn’t,” the man said. “It’s one hell of a life. It puts such a load on your shoulders.” Tweeden was the subject of a lengthy feature article in September of 1985. While his activism helped turn the tide for gay rights in Fargo, he hoped for a near future in which he didn’t have to be an activist and was recognized simply as a person. It’s a hope, perhaps, that is getting closer to reality in 2015. “Maybe some day people will know Lenny Weeden just as Lenny, a person and just as ‘the spokesman for the local gay community’ because there’s a lot more to me than that,” he said.
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936633","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"459","title":"","width":"407"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936634","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"397","title":"","width":"691"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936636","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"1503","title":"","width":"707"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936593","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"1254","title":"","width":"1151"}}]]Thanks in large part to the recent Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage in North Dakota, all signs indicate that this year’s F-M Pride events will have an air of joy and relief. Related: Big year for Pride: Organizers of annual local event expect largest crowds yet It’ll be a far cry from the city’s first recognized gay pride week in 1984, which sparked an uproar against the city’s then-mayor, Jon Lindgren. At the urging of gay-rights activist Lenny Tweeden, Lindgren signed a degree in June of that year formally recognizing the week’s gay pride celebrations. As The Forum reported at the time, the recognition was met with a steady stream of callers voicing protest to City Hall. City commissioners also voiced their opposition. “I do think there are many, many citizens in the community that will resent this kind of proclamation,” said Roy Pedersen, a city commissioner at the time, and he was right. The following days saw scores of letters to the editor written to The Forum, many of them critical of Lindgren and the declaration. Amid that uproar, Lindgren did find occasional support. “The mayor’s strong convictions may not be the most politically astute,” one letter to the editor said, “but when he challenges so-called standards and ‘sensibilities’ that are based on prejudice, misinformation, vindictiveness, plain stupidity and narrow-mindedness, we say, bravo!” Even under this dark cloud of opposition from the public at large, the week’s events bear some resemblance to modern F-M Pride Week celebrations. There was a picnic, a dance, some parties – even a drag queen. About 100 people were in attendance at the dance at Tweeden’s bar, My Place. The scene, while celebratory, also revealed the uphill battles many LGBT individuals faced. None of the interviewed attendees used their names. One interviewee voiced concern that his younger brother might be gay. “I hope to God he isn’t,” the man said. “It’s one hell of a life. It puts such a load on your shoulders.” Tweeden was the subject of a lengthy feature article in September of 1985. While his activism helped turn the tide for gay rights in Fargo, he hoped for a near future in which he didn’t have to be an activist and was recognized simply as a person. It’s a hope, perhaps, that is getting closer to reality in 2015. “Maybe some day people will know Lenny Weeden just as Lenny, a person and just as ‘the spokesman for the local gay community’ because there’s a lot more to me than that,” he said. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936632","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"359","title":"","width":"707"}}]]
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936634","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"397","title":"","width":"691"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936636","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"1503","title":"","width":"707"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936593","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"1254","title":"","width":"1151"}}]]Thanks in large part to the recent Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage in North Dakota, all signs indicate that this year’s F-M Pride events will have an air of joy and relief. Related: Big year for Pride: Organizers of annual local event expect largest crowds yet It’ll be a far cry from the city’s first recognized gay pride week in 1984, which sparked an uproar against the city’s then-mayor, Jon Lindgren. At the urging of gay-rights activist Lenny Tweeden, Lindgren signed a degree in June of that year formally recognizing the week’s gay pride celebrations. As The Forum reported at the time, the recognition was met with a steady stream of callers voicing protest to City Hall. City commissioners also voiced their opposition. “I do think there are many, many citizens in the community that will resent this kind of proclamation,” said Roy Pedersen, a city commissioner at the time, and he was right. The following days saw scores of letters to the editor written to The Forum, many of them critical of Lindgren and the declaration. Amid that uproar, Lindgren did find occasional support. “The mayor’s strong convictions may not be the most politically astute,” one letter to the editor said, “but when he challenges so-called standards and ‘sensibilities’ that are based on prejudice, misinformation, vindictiveness, plain stupidity and narrow-mindedness, we say, bravo!” Even under this dark cloud of opposition from the public at large, the week’s events bear some resemblance to modern F-M Pride Week celebrations. There was a picnic, a dance, some parties – even a drag queen. About 100 people were in attendance at the dance at Tweeden’s bar, My Place. The scene, while celebratory, also revealed the uphill battles many LGBT individuals faced. None of the interviewed attendees used their names. One interviewee voiced concern that his younger brother might be gay. “I hope to God he isn’t,” the man said. “It’s one hell of a life. It puts such a load on your shoulders.” Tweeden was the subject of a lengthy feature article in September of 1985. While his activism helped turn the tide for gay rights in Fargo, he hoped for a near future in which he didn’t have to be an activist and was recognized simply as a person. It’s a hope, perhaps, that is getting closer to reality in 2015. “Maybe some day people will know Lenny Weeden just as Lenny, a person and just as ‘the spokesman for the local gay community’ because there’s a lot more to me than that,” he said. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936632","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"359","title":"","width":"707"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936633","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"459","title":"","width":"407"}}]]
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936636","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"1503","title":"","width":"707"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936593","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"1254","title":"","width":"1151"}}]]Thanks in large part to the recent Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage in North Dakota, all signs indicate that this year’s F-M Pride events will have an air of joy and relief. Related: Big year for Pride: Organizers of annual local event expect largest crowds yet It’ll be a far cry from the city’s first recognized gay pride week in 1984, which sparked an uproar against the city’s then-mayor, Jon Lindgren. At the urging of gay-rights activist Lenny Tweeden, Lindgren signed a degree in June of that year formally recognizing the week’s gay pride celebrations. As The Forum reported at the time, the recognition was met with a steady stream of callers voicing protest to City Hall. City commissioners also voiced their opposition. “I do think there are many, many citizens in the community that will resent this kind of proclamation,” said Roy Pedersen, a city commissioner at the time, and he was right. The following days saw scores of letters to the editor written to The Forum, many of them critical of Lindgren and the declaration. Amid that uproar, Lindgren did find occasional support. “The mayor’s strong convictions may not be the most politically astute,” one letter to the editor said, “but when he challenges so-called standards and ‘sensibilities’ that are based on prejudice, misinformation, vindictiveness, plain stupidity and narrow-mindedness, we say, bravo!” Even under this dark cloud of opposition from the public at large, the week’s events bear some resemblance to modern F-M Pride Week celebrations. There was a picnic, a dance, some parties – even a drag queen. About 100 people were in attendance at the dance at Tweeden’s bar, My Place. The scene, while celebratory, also revealed the uphill battles many LGBT individuals faced. None of the interviewed attendees used their names. One interviewee voiced concern that his younger brother might be gay. “I hope to God he isn’t,” the man said. “It’s one hell of a life. It puts such a load on your shoulders.” Tweeden was the subject of a lengthy feature article in September of 1985. While his activism helped turn the tide for gay rights in Fargo, he hoped for a near future in which he didn’t have to be an activist and was recognized simply as a person. It’s a hope, perhaps, that is getting closer to reality in 2015. “Maybe some day people will know Lenny Weeden just as Lenny, a person and just as ‘the spokesman for the local gay community’ because there’s a lot more to me than that,” he said. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936632","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"359","title":"","width":"707"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936633","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"459","title":"","width":"407"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936634","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"397","title":"","width":"691"}}]]
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936593","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"1254","title":"","width":"1151"}}]]Thanks in large part to the recent Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage in North Dakota, all signs indicate that this year’s F-M Pride events will have an air of joy and relief. Related: Big year for Pride: Organizers of annual local event expect largest crowds yet It’ll be a far cry from the city’s first recognized gay pride week in 1984, which sparked an uproar against the city’s then-mayor, Jon Lindgren. At the urging of gay-rights activist Lenny Tweeden, Lindgren signed a degree in June of that year formally recognizing the week’s gay pride celebrations. As The Forum reported at the time, the recognition was met with a steady stream of callers voicing protest to City Hall. City commissioners also voiced their opposition. “I do think there are many, many citizens in the community that will resent this kind of proclamation,” said Roy Pedersen, a city commissioner at the time, and he was right. The following days saw scores of letters to the editor written to The Forum, many of them critical of Lindgren and the declaration. Amid that uproar, Lindgren did find occasional support. “The mayor’s strong convictions may not be the most politically astute,” one letter to the editor said, “but when he challenges so-called standards and ‘sensibilities’ that are based on prejudice, misinformation, vindictiveness, plain stupidity and narrow-mindedness, we say, bravo!” Even under this dark cloud of opposition from the public at large, the week’s events bear some resemblance to modern F-M Pride Week celebrations. There was a picnic, a dance, some parties – even a drag queen. About 100 people were in attendance at the dance at Tweeden’s bar, My Place. The scene, while celebratory, also revealed the uphill battles many LGBT individuals faced. None of the interviewed attendees used their names. One interviewee voiced concern that his younger brother might be gay. “I hope to God he isn’t,” the man said. “It’s one hell of a life. It puts such a load on your shoulders.” Tweeden was the subject of a lengthy feature article in September of 1985. While his activism helped turn the tide for gay rights in Fargo, he hoped for a near future in which he didn’t have to be an activist and was recognized simply as a person. It’s a hope, perhaps, that is getting closer to reality in 2015. “Maybe some day people will know Lenny Weeden just as Lenny, a person and just as ‘the spokesman for the local gay community’ because there’s a lot more to me than that,” he said. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936632","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"359","title":"","width":"707"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936633","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"459","title":"","width":"407"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936634","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"397","title":"","width":"691"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936636","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"1503","title":"","width":"707"}}]]
Thanks in large part to the recent Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage in North Dakota, all signs indicate that this year’s F-M Pride events will have an air of joy and relief.Related: Big year for Pride: Organizers of annual local event expect largest crowds yetIt’ll be a far cry from the city’s first recognized gay pride week in 1984, which sparked an uproar against the city’s then-mayor, Jon Lindgren.At the urging of gay-rights activist Lenny Tweeden, Lindgren signed a degree in June of that year formally recognizing the week’s gay pride celebrations. As The Forum reported at the time, the recognition was met with a steady stream of callers voicing protest to City Hall. City commissioners also voiced their opposition.“I do think there are many, many citizens in the community that will resent this kind of proclamation,” said Roy Pedersen, a city commissioner at the time, and he was right. The following days saw scores of letters to the editor written to The Forum, many of them critical of Lindgren and the declaration.Amid that uproar, Lindgren did find occasional support. “The mayor’s strong convictions may not be the most politically astute,” one letter to the editor said, “but when he challenges so-called standards and ‘sensibilities’ that are based on prejudice, misinformation, vindictiveness, plain stupidity and narrow-mindedness, we say, bravo!”Even under this dark cloud of opposition from the public at large, the week’s events bear some resemblance to modern F-M Pride Week celebrations. There was a picnic, a dance, some parties – even a drag queen. About 100 people were in attendance at the dance at Tweeden’s bar, My Place. The scene, while celebratory, also revealed the uphill battles many LGBT individuals faced. None of the interviewed attendees used their names. One interviewee voiced concern that his younger brother might be gay.“I hope to God he isn’t,” the man said. “It’s one hell of a life. It puts such a load on your shoulders.”Tweeden was the subject of a lengthy feature article in September of 1985. While his activism helped turn the tide for gay rights in Fargo, he hoped for a near future in which he didn’t have to be an activist and was recognized simply as a person.It’s a hope, perhaps, that is getting closer to reality in 2015.“Maybe some day people will know Lenny Weeden just as Lenny, a person and just as ‘the spokesman for the local gay community’ because there’s a lot more to me than that,” he said.
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936633","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"459","title":"","width":"407"}}]][[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936634","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"397","title":"","width":"691"}}]][[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936636","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"1503","title":"","width":"707"}}]][[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936593","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"1254","title":"","width":"1151"}}]]Thanks in large part to the recent Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage in North Dakota, all signs indicate that this year’s F-M Pride events will have an air of joy and relief.Related: Big year for Pride: Organizers of annual local event expect largest crowds yetIt’ll be a far cry from the city’s first recognized gay pride week in 1984, which sparked an uproar against the city’s then-mayor, Jon Lindgren.At the urging of gay-rights activist Lenny Tweeden, Lindgren signed a degree in June of that year formally recognizing the week’s gay pride celebrations. As The Forum reported at the time, the recognition was met with a steady stream of callers voicing protest to City Hall. City commissioners also voiced their opposition.“I do think there are many, many citizens in the community that will resent this kind of proclamation,” said Roy Pedersen, a city commissioner at the time, and he was right. The following days saw scores of letters to the editor written to The Forum, many of them critical of Lindgren and the declaration.Amid that uproar, Lindgren did find occasional support. “The mayor’s strong convictions may not be the most politically astute,” one letter to the editor said, “but when he challenges so-called standards and ‘sensibilities’ that are based on prejudice, misinformation, vindictiveness, plain stupidity and narrow-mindedness, we say, bravo!”Even under this dark cloud of opposition from the public at large, the week’s events bear some resemblance to modern F-M Pride Week celebrations. There was a picnic, a dance, some parties – even a drag queen. About 100 people were in attendance at the dance at Tweeden’s bar, My Place. The scene, while celebratory, also revealed the uphill battles many LGBT individuals faced. None of the interviewed attendees used their names. One interviewee voiced concern that his younger brother might be gay.“I hope to God he isn’t,” the man said. “It’s one hell of a life. It puts such a load on your shoulders.”Tweeden was the subject of a lengthy feature article in September of 1985. While his activism helped turn the tide for gay rights in Fargo, he hoped for a near future in which he didn’t have to be an activist and was recognized simply as a person.It’s a hope, perhaps, that is getting closer to reality in 2015.“Maybe some day people will know Lenny Weeden just as Lenny, a person and just as ‘the spokesman for the local gay community’ because there’s a lot more to me than that,” he said.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936632","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"359","title":"","width":"707"}}]]
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936634","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"397","title":"","width":"691"}}]][[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936636","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"1503","title":"","width":"707"}}]][[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936593","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"1254","title":"","width":"1151"}}]]Thanks in large part to the recent Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage in North Dakota, all signs indicate that this year’s F-M Pride events will have an air of joy and relief.Related: Big year for Pride: Organizers of annual local event expect largest crowds yetIt’ll be a far cry from the city’s first recognized gay pride week in 1984, which sparked an uproar against the city’s then-mayor, Jon Lindgren.At the urging of gay-rights activist Lenny Tweeden, Lindgren signed a degree in June of that year formally recognizing the week’s gay pride celebrations. As The Forum reported at the time, the recognition was met with a steady stream of callers voicing protest to City Hall. City commissioners also voiced their opposition.“I do think there are many, many citizens in the community that will resent this kind of proclamation,” said Roy Pedersen, a city commissioner at the time, and he was right. The following days saw scores of letters to the editor written to The Forum, many of them critical of Lindgren and the declaration.Amid that uproar, Lindgren did find occasional support. “The mayor’s strong convictions may not be the most politically astute,” one letter to the editor said, “but when he challenges so-called standards and ‘sensibilities’ that are based on prejudice, misinformation, vindictiveness, plain stupidity and narrow-mindedness, we say, bravo!”Even under this dark cloud of opposition from the public at large, the week’s events bear some resemblance to modern F-M Pride Week celebrations. There was a picnic, a dance, some parties – even a drag queen. About 100 people were in attendance at the dance at Tweeden’s bar, My Place. The scene, while celebratory, also revealed the uphill battles many LGBT individuals faced. None of the interviewed attendees used their names. One interviewee voiced concern that his younger brother might be gay.“I hope to God he isn’t,” the man said. “It’s one hell of a life. It puts such a load on your shoulders.”Tweeden was the subject of a lengthy feature article in September of 1985. While his activism helped turn the tide for gay rights in Fargo, he hoped for a near future in which he didn’t have to be an activist and was recognized simply as a person.It’s a hope, perhaps, that is getting closer to reality in 2015.“Maybe some day people will know Lenny Weeden just as Lenny, a person and just as ‘the spokesman for the local gay community’ because there’s a lot more to me than that,” he said.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936632","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"359","title":"","width":"707"}}]][[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936633","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"459","title":"","width":"407"}}]]
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936636","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"1503","title":"","width":"707"}}]][[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936593","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"1254","title":"","width":"1151"}}]]Thanks in large part to the recent Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage in North Dakota, all signs indicate that this year’s F-M Pride events will have an air of joy and relief.Related: Big year for Pride: Organizers of annual local event expect largest crowds yetIt’ll be a far cry from the city’s first recognized gay pride week in 1984, which sparked an uproar against the city’s then-mayor, Jon Lindgren.At the urging of gay-rights activist Lenny Tweeden, Lindgren signed a degree in June of that year formally recognizing the week’s gay pride celebrations. As The Forum reported at the time, the recognition was met with a steady stream of callers voicing protest to City Hall. City commissioners also voiced their opposition.“I do think there are many, many citizens in the community that will resent this kind of proclamation,” said Roy Pedersen, a city commissioner at the time, and he was right. The following days saw scores of letters to the editor written to The Forum, many of them critical of Lindgren and the declaration.Amid that uproar, Lindgren did find occasional support. “The mayor’s strong convictions may not be the most politically astute,” one letter to the editor said, “but when he challenges so-called standards and ‘sensibilities’ that are based on prejudice, misinformation, vindictiveness, plain stupidity and narrow-mindedness, we say, bravo!”Even under this dark cloud of opposition from the public at large, the week’s events bear some resemblance to modern F-M Pride Week celebrations. There was a picnic, a dance, some parties – even a drag queen. About 100 people were in attendance at the dance at Tweeden’s bar, My Place. The scene, while celebratory, also revealed the uphill battles many LGBT individuals faced. None of the interviewed attendees used their names. One interviewee voiced concern that his younger brother might be gay.“I hope to God he isn’t,” the man said. “It’s one hell of a life. It puts such a load on your shoulders.”Tweeden was the subject of a lengthy feature article in September of 1985. While his activism helped turn the tide for gay rights in Fargo, he hoped for a near future in which he didn’t have to be an activist and was recognized simply as a person.It’s a hope, perhaps, that is getting closer to reality in 2015.“Maybe some day people will know Lenny Weeden just as Lenny, a person and just as ‘the spokesman for the local gay community’ because there’s a lot more to me than that,” he said.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936632","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"359","title":"","width":"707"}}]][[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936633","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"459","title":"","width":"407"}}]][[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936634","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"397","title":"","width":"691"}}]]
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936593","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"1254","title":"","width":"1151"}}]]Thanks in large part to the recent Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage in North Dakota, all signs indicate that this year’s F-M Pride events will have an air of joy and relief.Related: Big year for Pride: Organizers of annual local event expect largest crowds yetIt’ll be a far cry from the city’s first recognized gay pride week in 1984, which sparked an uproar against the city’s then-mayor, Jon Lindgren.At the urging of gay-rights activist Lenny Tweeden, Lindgren signed a degree in June of that year formally recognizing the week’s gay pride celebrations. As The Forum reported at the time, the recognition was met with a steady stream of callers voicing protest to City Hall. City commissioners also voiced their opposition.“I do think there are many, many citizens in the community that will resent this kind of proclamation,” said Roy Pedersen, a city commissioner at the time, and he was right. The following days saw scores of letters to the editor written to The Forum, many of them critical of Lindgren and the declaration.Amid that uproar, Lindgren did find occasional support. “The mayor’s strong convictions may not be the most politically astute,” one letter to the editor said, “but when he challenges so-called standards and ‘sensibilities’ that are based on prejudice, misinformation, vindictiveness, plain stupidity and narrow-mindedness, we say, bravo!”Even under this dark cloud of opposition from the public at large, the week’s events bear some resemblance to modern F-M Pride Week celebrations. There was a picnic, a dance, some parties – even a drag queen. About 100 people were in attendance at the dance at Tweeden’s bar, My Place. The scene, while celebratory, also revealed the uphill battles many LGBT individuals faced. None of the interviewed attendees used their names. One interviewee voiced concern that his younger brother might be gay.“I hope to God he isn’t,” the man said. “It’s one hell of a life. It puts such a load on your shoulders.”Tweeden was the subject of a lengthy feature article in September of 1985. While his activism helped turn the tide for gay rights in Fargo, he hoped for a near future in which he didn’t have to be an activist and was recognized simply as a person.It’s a hope, perhaps, that is getting closer to reality in 2015.“Maybe some day people will know Lenny Weeden just as Lenny, a person and just as ‘the spokesman for the local gay community’ because there’s a lot more to me than that,” he said.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936632","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"359","title":"","width":"707"}}]][[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936633","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"459","title":"","width":"407"}}]][[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936634","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"397","title":"","width":"691"}}]][[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1936636","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"1503","title":"","width":"707"}}]]

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