GENDER-BENDER WINS OVER TRANNY BINGO

In Events - General by Clyde Mooney

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The pub entertainment institution known as Tranny Bingo is moving with the times – not to new venues, but to the beat of a changing social landscape.

Daniel Floyd, aka Penny Tration, has been running his drag queen-hosted bingo night in pubs and clubs for more than a decade. While there are now many imitators, it was the first to move beyond the safety of Oxford Street, and now ten venues around Sydney hold the Tranny Bingo nights, including three ALH pubs.

But in recent weeks all venues received a letter from law firm Allens on behalf of their client, a transgender woman named Katherine Wolfgramme, to cease using the word ‘tranny’ on the basis that it is offensive to some transgender people.

Wolfgramme and Floyd have known each other for over two decades, and the Bingo host says any legal intervention could have been avoided.

“Part of surprise was to receive this letter, not a phone call,” Floyd told PubTIC. “In the long run our night has done far, far more positives than negatives for the trans community.”

The event began back in 2000, and has grown steadily in popularity to count the ten regular venues, as well as the likes of corporate functions and P&O cruises.

Over time the title has become increasingly inappropriate, bringing about the sister brands Bingo with Balls and Blingo, which have been unable to even cross-promote each other.

Floyd went through a similar battle with a far more aggressive complainant back in 2014, and while it was ruled he could continue, the warning signs were there.

Recently, venues hosting the event began receiving complaint calls from a small but vocal group, before the demand came to stop using the word by 22 December. Failure to do so threatened application to the Human Rights Commission.

Floyd had already been through that back in 2014, and received the Human Rights Commission’s “all-clear” to continue using the name.

But never wanting to cause any offense to anyone, around eight months ago he began what he saw as the inevitable move towards a name change to Genderbender Bingo – well before the Allens correspondence.

Floyd believes it is still only a portion of the trans community that associates the word ‘tranny’ with prejudice and violence toward transgender people, but realises many of the general population are unoffended or even completely unaware of its connotations, and fears his over-the-top drag queen night may be inadvertently normalising its everyday usage.

All the events will now be known under the Genderbender Bingo name, but still with the Bingo with Balls tagline.

The Duncans’ Potts Point Hotel, aka Sugarmill, has held it every Thursday night since 2009 and reports “we’re not going to stop”.

And Floyd believes it will soon all blow over like yesterday’s news, he just hopes to keep putting on a good show.

“My concern is that we run a really fun, inclusive, enjoyable night that’s been around for 17 years, and with the lockouts and all that’s been going on, it’s really important to keep entertainment alive and available for people.

“These people who complain and say how much it pokes fun – they have never been to our night.

“Really, it was all a storm in a D-cup.”

Penny Tration. Image: Facebook