Reading Pride celebrates 10th year

Reading Pride 2012
Image caption Reading Pride in Kings Meadow attracted 12,000 people to the free family event last year

Reading Pride celebrated its 10th anniversary with 80s popstar Hazell Dean headlining the main stage.

The family event in Kings Meadow, that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, began in 2003.

It has grown to become the largest Pride event in the Thames Valley, attracting 12,000 people last year.

The event organisers believed it was be the first Pride event in the country to showcase drag kings - women who dress up and perform as men.

Donations encouraged

Laurence O' Meara, chairman of Reading Pride Trustees, said attitudes to gay people had "definitely improved" in the last 10 years.

He said that at the town's first event "religious groups turned up praying for rain".

Now, at larger Pride events, such as the one in London, religious groups take part in the parade.

The comperes from midday were drag queens Gina Tonic and Wilma Fingadoo, and for the first time drag kings performed.

"We're apparently the first pride event to showcase them [drag kings] so we're quite proud of that," said Mr O'Meara.

Reading Pride has had a parade through the town centre since 2006 and, to celebrate 10 years, this year's fancy dress theme is "through the decades".

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