Gay bars are hard to come by in the Southern Tier. There are none in Oneonta or Cooperstown or Ithaca. And the main one in Binghamton – Merlin’s – just closed in October. There's only one left, Squiggy's.
In general, gay bars closing is a trend nationwide, but is it a problem? Some people say, society is more supportive of same-sex couples. Or that business at gay bars is down. But, some LGBTQ people say they still deal with gay bashing and still need a space to hang out with other people who are gay. In downtown Binghamton, one group of drag kings has become much more transient.
Mimosas, Prosciutto and Drag
A few dozen people sip mimosas and bite into slices of prosciutto on an unusually sunny Saturday morning at the restaurant Citrea along the Chenango riverfront.
And one by one, six drag kings take turns dancing between the two rows of tables, lip-synching flirtatiously with diners.
It’s their first time performing at Citrea. Typically, the group caravans through the Triple Cities and up to Syracuse, making stops at a handful of bars – both gay and mainstream - a few nights a month.