A CAMPAIGN has been launched to bring a Gay Pride festival to Southampton .

This year there have been 38 Gay Pride festivals across the country, the biggest of which is in Brighton, attracting more than 30,000 revellers.

Campaigners want a similar event in Southampton.

Chrisie Edkins, a 31-year-old transgender singer from West End , is leading the push and has started a petition, already signed by hundreds of people backing a Gay Pride festival for the city. She claims that hosting a Pride event in Southampton will cost £15,000 and wants it to be funded from a council grant or support from the Southampton business community. Miss Edkins argued that having a Pride festival in Southampton will bring tourism to the city.

She said: “I feel that Southampton is lacking a Pride event. Most large Pride events attract a crowd from across the surrounding area. “I know a Pride event will bring people to Southampton. “It would be nice if we had this event in Southampton to celebrate our diversity and acceptance.”

She plans for the festival to be held in late 2013, marching through the city centre to Southampton Common, where there will be a stage for live music. The Edge Nightclub supports the campaign and operation manager Nicholas Lindner said: “The gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population of Southampton deserve to be recognised. “Given the right support, I am sure that Southampton Pride could grow into a very popular annual event.”

A similar Pride event in Southampton was staged in July 2005, but it failed to gather enough support and was stopped.

A spokesman for Southampton City Council said they encourage events like a Pride Festival in Southampton but are unlikely to be able to afford the cost.

He said: “The council is keen to encourage individuals and groups to organise a wide range of events. “While we may be unable to find financial aid – we would offer the same level of support that we do for many other event organisers.”