It has been over a decade since gay bingo games were introduced in Philadelphia and since then the games have become a major social event. Seats are at a premium and players must arrive early to get a seat at the tables. Games are held at the Gershman Y on Broad Street. The Gershman Y is near the Kimmel Center and the historic Academy of Music. The games raise funds for several organizations that help those suffering from HIV, commonly known as AIDS. The gay bingo games are a monthly event and the game schedule may be found at aidswalkphilly dot com.
People of all ages, ethnicity or sexual orientation are welcome. The games offer players a great way to spend quality time with family and friends. While the image of the senior citizen playing bingo still lingers in the minds of many younger players have taken up the game and have added fresh, exciting elements. The gay bingo games are designed to attract a wide variety of people. The fun elements added to the gay bingo games can be enjoyed by everyone of any orientation. Drag queens on roller skates in colorful costumes cruise around the hall entertaining everyone with their humor. As the say on their official website “Honey this isn’t your grandmother’s Bingo!”
The money goes to the AIDS fund which supports education, prevention, and services in the Delaware Valley Region and increases awareness of the impact of HIV on local communities. Currently 30 partner organizations receive funds from the AIDS fund and a good share is raised by gay bingo games. A full list of partner organizations may be found on their official website. To date gay bingo games have raised over $2 million dollars. Some of the games are black tie events known for their elegance and sophistication.
The organizers promise gay bingo games to be “an evening of unbridled fun, complete with ridiculous musical numbers, hilarious drag queen antics, chances to win cash and fabulous prizes and more!” Gay bingo games are not confined to Philly by any means. Just about every major city has gay bingo games available. Bingo games have been a popular and highly effective way to raise money for AIDS related causes. In Los Angeles the charity bingo games held at Hamburger Mary’s are legendary and often feature top tier entertainment and movie stars as bingo callers. Gay bingo games are a far cry from the days of smoky church basements filled with blue haired ladies puffing away on cigarettes.