You Don’t Have To Be Gay To Play Gay Bingo!


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We have all grown up with the idea of bingo being what middle-aged people play in church halls or Veterans of Foreign Wars halls or even Indian bingo parlors. But did you know that bingo has a vibrant and exciting existence in the Gay community as well? In Buffalo, New York, for example, a local Presbyterian Church every Saturday holds a bingo tournament that helps raise funds to fight AIDS. The bingo games are one of several unique fund-raising opportunities that non-profits employ to fight AIDS and to let people know that the fight against AIDS and HIV is ongoing.

In Austin, Texas gays and straights are finding a lot to be entertained by at Drag Queen Bingo. This hilarious variation on bingo takes the traditional game to an entirely different plain of existence. Besides the bingo itself, Drag Queen Bingo also has a comedy show, arm wrestling and Texas-style chili in many forms. Unlike many bingo games, Drag Queen Bingo doesn’t cost anything to play. Upon arrival players help themselves to bingo sheets from a table in the middle of the room. Daubers are provided free of charge.

Once the players are seated with bowls and chili and primed and ready to play the drag queen “mistress of ceremonies” arrives. Equipped with an endless supply of foul language and snappy repartee the drag queen draws on his many years in show business to keep things moving along. The excitement of winning bingo is definitely part of the fun in this iteration of the popular pastime. In case the excitement isn’t who wins the cash prize, but who wins the bag of surprise goodies.

Bingo for a Great Cause

It turns out that Drag Queen Bingo originated in Seattle in the 1990s as a way of raising funds to fight AIDS. The non-profit that put it on was known as the Chicken Soup Brigade. The organizers were looking for something were people wouldn’t mind spending a little bit of money and visited the staid, rather boring bingo parlors. They decided that bingo was the right game, however it needed to be livened up. That’s when they came up with the idea for incorporating drag queens into the game as callers. The first drag queens to host the event were known as the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.  In New York City you’ll find a place called “Lips” where a drag queen named Ginger has the ability to reduce you to near tears with the zingers that she flings at audience members who give her too much lip.  As is common with drag queen bingo games all over the country, you will often find games where the gays versus the lesbians, or the gays versus other gays, or even gay and lesbians versus the straights.

Gay Bingo is Loved Around the World

In West Hollywood, California there is another form of Drag Queen Bingo that happens every Wednesday night at a famous local burger place known as Hamburger Mary. Equally famous are some of the stars that come to hang out for the bingo action, and occasionally to call the numbers, including Paris Hilton and Courtney Cox. In this version the drag queen is named Belle Aire, and like her opposite number in Austin she has a foul mouth and she employs it with abandon. Her specialty is inventing naughty rhymes every time a new numbered bingo ball is pulled. Her act brings them in by the droves every Wednesday for bingo and the chance to win a Xena action figure! Other prizes include DVDs and gift certificates for dining out.

As with other Drag Queen Bingos in other locations, the one in West Hollywood is a venue for raising money for charity. It’s also a venue for raucous fun, singing, yelling and outrageous behavior of every stripe. Not the mention the over-the-top linebacker physiqued drag queen in a bouffant hair do and pumps.  Drag Queen Bingo may not be for you every time—but it’s a safe bet that you’ll have some fun and probably be back for more soon. This fun-filled bingo arena has inspired online bingo rooms to be more interactive for their player base.