NoCo Pride in the Park celebrates acceptance in local LGBTQ+ community

Ivy Secrest, Life and Culture Director

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
  • A young festival-goer reacts as a performer hands them part of their costume June 16.

    Collegian | Lucy Morantz

  • A balloon artist smiles as they give a flower to a child at the 2022 NoCo Pride Festival June 16.

    Collegian | Lucy Morantz

  • Free stickers and other merchandise sit at the Colorado State University Pride Resource Center tent at the 2022 NoCo Pride Festival June 16.

    Collegian | Lucy Morantz

  • An artist performs at the 2022 NoCo Pride Festival in Civic Center Park June 16. The festival was created by local nonprofit Northern Colorado Equality to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community of Northern Colorado.

    Collegian | Lucy Morantz

  • An artist performs at the 2022 NoCo Pride Festival in Civic Center Park June 16. The festival was created by local nonprofit Northern Colorado Equality to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community of Northern Colorado.

    Collegian | Lucy Morantz

  • An artist performs at the 2022 NoCo Pride Festival in Civic Center Park June 16. The festival was created by local nonprofit Northern Colorado Equality to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community of Northern Colorado.

    Collegian | Lucy Morantz

  • A young festival-goer watches a performer at the 2022 NoCo Pride Festival in Civic Center Park June 16.

    Collegian | Lucy Morantz

  • Festival-goers cheer for performers at the 2022 NoCo Pride Festival in Civic Center Park June 16.

    Collegian | Lucy Morantz

  • Krisa Gonna performs at the 2022 NoCo Pride Festival in Civic Center Park June 16. The festival was created by local nonprofit Northern Colorado Equality to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community of Northern Colorado.

    Collegian | Lucy Morantz

  • A person inside of an inflatable unicorn costume waves a Colorado Pride flag during a performance at the 2022 NoCo Pride Festival June 16.

    Collegian | Lucy Morantz

  • A performer waves a Pride flag during their performance at the 2022 NoCo Pride Festival in Civic Center Park June 16.

    Collegian | Lucy Morantz

  • Two festival-goers stand wrapped in Pride flags while they watch performances at the 2022 NoCo Pride Festival June 16.

    Collegian | Lucy Morantz

  • A representative from the Colorado State University Pride Resource Center talks to a festival-goer June 16.

    Collegian | Lucy Morantz

  • Young festival-goers wave Pride flags with a performer during the 2022 NoCo Pride Festival in Civic Center Park.

    Collegian | Lucy Morantz

Navigate Left
Navigate Right

Diverse, inclusive, kind and accepting — these words were written in repetition in front of the Poudre River Public Library’s stand at Fort Collins’ annual NoCo Pride in the Park. Returning full swing after two years of COVID-19, Saturday’s festival created a space with all of these traits.  

Between local churches, mental health centers, the Colorado State University Pride Resource Center and the Poudre River Public Library, a large portion of the Fort Collins community came to show their pride. 

Ad

“We want to have a good relationship with our community and show students that, once they step off of campus, they will have people that will welcome them,” said Maggie Hendrickson, interim director of the Pride Resource Center at CSU. “Look at all these people in Fort Collins that are affirming of your identity.”

This theme of promoting safe spaces and inclusion was prevalent at this year’s festival. Las Chingonas También Lloran sold subtle pride stickers and Free Mom Hugs set up a tent so that LGBTQ+ people could find supportive parents to receive hugs and high-fives from. 

Next to them was Heart of the Rockies Christian Church, set up to let attendees know they are welcome within the church no matter their gender identity and expression, sexual orientation or history with faith. 

“I was a minister in a very fundamental conservative denomination, and about five years ago I was outed,” said church member Nathan Hall. “I healed from a lot of hurt … so this kind of church means the world to me.”

Now married, Hall said he is planning to start seminar and go back into church ministry. For many people in the LGBTQ+ community, church can bring up hurtful memories. The churches present on Saturday, like Heart of the Rockies, aim to change that damaged relationship. 

Support extended beyond belief systems and deeply into physical and mental health. UCHealth and Northpoint Colorado were two of many organizations set up to talk about how these issues can effect the LGBTQ+ community.

“A lot of our patients, especially our youth, are in the LGBTQ+ community … and substance abuse is a big issue,” said Kaitlin Elmore, alumni coordinator for Northpoint. “Often their outlet is meeting in bars, which can lead to addiction and needing an outlet to numb ourselves when we’re not accepted in our families and homes.”

Programs like these are essential in building a welcoming community for LGBTQ+ people. Some stands, like PFLAG, aimed to support family members and allies, while others, like the CSU PRC, hoped to help LGBTQ+ Rams find their community in Fort Collins. 

“There are so many states right now that are really pushing laws that limit rights for trans people, non-binary people and queer people,” said Ali Owens, a Pride Leadership Council member and staff for the CSU Pride Resource Center. “I think it’s so important for college campuses in particular to be welcoming and inclusive and have support networks for LGBTQ+ students. Especially those coming from those states.”

Events like the NoCo Pride in the Park provide welcoming spaces that bring people who want to make others feel comfortable to be their truest selves.

Ad

“It really helps show people that there’s a whole world out there thats not bigoted, that’s not terrible,” Owens said. “This kind of support is literally life saving.” 

Reach Ivy Secrest at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @IvySecrest.