‘This is not your grandmother’s bingo’

Drag Bingo hopes to make new LGBTQIA members feel welcome



Aquasha DeLusty performs at One World Cafe in Moscow on July 10, 2017.

CHLOE GRUNDMEIER, Evergreen reporter

Inland Oasis will host its monthly Drag Bingo fundraiser Monday with the theme of Monster Prom. While bingo is sometimes associated with strict etiquette, Inland Oasis’ version is far from that.

“This is not your grandmother’s bingo,” said Aquasha DeLusty, creator and coordinator of Drag Bingo. “It’s a place to socialize, have fun, play games and be yourself. It gives us performers an outlet to express ourselves artistically, and it’s really interactive with the attendees so they get a more personal experience.”

Inland Oasis President Hannah Hayes said she loves Drag Bingo not only because it’s Inland Oasis’ biggest fundraiser, but because of the family-friendly nature as well.

“Drag Bingo is the lifeblood of the organization that allows us to do all of our other cool programs,” Hayes said. “It’s a lot of fun and it’s family-friendly. My kids go every month and there are lots of other littles always there. It’s a great way to be around other community members that tend to be like-minded.”

Inland Oasis started serving the queer community on the Palouse in 2004 and provides several programs that are centered on the health, families and well-being of this community. Rainbow Families is one program geared towards LGBTQIA families to help their children understand the normalcy of same-sex parents, Hayes said.

Inland Oasis will be offering free HIV testing by the end of November and hopes to start up a transgender support group by the end of the year. It also has the Lily Longlegs Emergency Grant to help people in the community get back on their feet when they need some help. Drag Bingo and Palouse Pride directly fund these programs.

“The LGBTQIA community, whether you’re in a city or not, is an underserved community,” Hayes said. “In a small town it’s even more underserved, so the work we do is really important. The kids can come to our events and they can know they’re not alone and realize they’re not the only gay person out there. They get to feel like themselves.”

DeLusty started the Moscow Drag Bingo nights almost 10 years ago in collaboration with Tabikat Productions to help support Inland Oasis, as she believed the work they were doing was incredibly important to the community.

“Idaho has a lot of small rural towns, so it can be intimidating to realize that there are people in the world who are actually like you,” DeLusty said. “The Drag Bingo nights are a more relaxed way to start entering into the community. It’s a light version of the cultural element with a fun game thrown in.”

Game winners can win prizes donated by local businesses and all of these businesses are supporters of the LGBTQIA community. By attending Drag Bingo, someone new to the community can learn about several safe spaces on the Palouse.

Drag Bingo’s Monster Prom will start at 7 p.m. Monday at the 1912 Center in Moscow. The Night of Fun Package is $15, a full pack of bingo cards is $10, a half pack is $5 and extra sheets are $1. There is a minimum purchase of $5. More information can be found on the Drag Bingo Facebook page.

“Drag Bingo allows people to realize they’re not alone in the queer community,” Hayes said. “A small town can be isolating. Drag Bingo and Inland Oasis work really hard to provide that community for people who don’t already have it. We want everyone to feel safe and welcome and know that they’re not alone.”

Inland Oasis is always looking for volunteers, and Hayes said anyone interested can sign up using inlandoasis.org/volunteer.