Pride in the Park Brings Community Together, Creates Friendships

Attendees say it's a welcoming, judgement-free place

FARGO, N.D. — It’s described as a welcoming and open place where everyone can be themselves.

For one group of friends, Pride in the Park was a way to instantly connect.

Maxwell Dirks went for the first time, and he says it’s everything he expected and more.

He credits friends he’s met throughout his life with helping him find himself.

“When I was in middle school I was extremely homophobic and transphobic because that’s all I had ever been exposed to. My queer friends, who had so much patience… it’s taken me years and a lot of learning but I know who I am now,” he said.

Now at Pride, people say they can totally be themselves.

“It makes me feel so accepted, it makes me feel like I don’t have to be afraid of my own community,” Tobi Ochocki said.

They say Pride is totally judgement free.

“When I come here in these costumes people don’t judge me at all. They aren’t like, ‘you’re wearing a wig.’ They’re like, ‘oh my God, I love it,'” Bee Hutt said.

“It’s just an amazing place to love yourself, love other people, be creative, love yourself, be you in the most you–est way you can. Don’t be afraid of it,” Dirks said.

Dirks, Ochocki, and Hutt actually only met today.

“In my personal experience, you want to hold on to those friends tightly and immediately because for a good part of my life I didn’t have gay friends who could be so accepting of me, so when I find people who are I really try to hold on to them immediately,” Ochocki said.

“When you see someone who’s like you, you click so quickly because you’re on the same wavelength. You know you won’t have to awkwardly come out, or explain anything, or get asked anything intrusive or uncomfortable question, you just go, ‘hey I know what you’re talking about,'” Dirks said.

“I really hope we stay friends for awhile,” Ochocki said.

The Pride Parade will be tomorrow at 2 p.m. It starts at the Moorhead Center Mall and goes to the Fargo Civic Center.

Categories: Community, Local News, North Dakota News