“You are supported. You are loved. You are amazing. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.”

That message was shared by Tracy McKay, a Needham mother of two transgender young adults, and echoed by others at Sunday’s Needham Has Pride rally, march and party to celebrate Pride month and the local LGBTQ+ community.

A crowd of more than 100 people gathered in front of the First Parish on Dedham Avenue with signs, flags and colorful attire for the event that was co-sponsored by First Parish and The Congregational Church of Needham. Their ministers, the Rev. Catie Scudera and the Rev. John Gage, offered encouraging and caring words, tempered with the somber recognition that LGBTQ+ individuals are under increasing attack in our country.

Grand Marshall Just JP

Needham Select Board member Heidi Frail told the crowd she was there to extend the town’s acceptance, love and support. “We need to stand as strong as we can to not let outside influence affect our community,” she said. “Even in the face of resistance, I would ask us to remember basic human kindness toward each other.”

With affirming chants such as “We’re here, we’re queer, come out and say hello!” the group headed down Great Plain Avenue to continue the celebration at The Congregational Church. They were led by Grand Marshall Just JP, an East Boston resident who grew up in El Salvador and said he was welcomed “with open hearts and arms” by the First Parish community.

Just JP told the crowd, “Carry this day every day of our lives. It is truly beautiful to love.”

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