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LAUREN STIRLING: Everyone should have their own happy place – this is mine

Lauren with Anne Spank (L) and Demi Pointe (R).
Lauren with Anne Spank (L) and Demi Pointe (R).

I’ve always been a nervous and quiet person – I hate speaking to people I don’t know.

I’d never just start up a conversation with someone I’d never met before.

One night my family and I went to Church in Dundee, a venue that holds a weekly drag show called Bingo Wigs.

Seeing it for the first time was life changing.

It featured drag performances, lip-sync battles and – of course – rounds of bingo.

The atmosphere was incredible thanks to noise from everyone chatting – mostly people in their 20s – and the room’s multi-coloured lights.

Bingo Wigs hosts go above and beyond

I’ve been stared at all my life, judged for having a disability, cerebral palsy.

It can be hard – but you’ve got to remember that most people’s opinions don’t matter.

Feeling judged definitely puts you off going to certain events because you can feel like you’re not wanted there, or that you don’t belong there.

But from the moment I walked through the door at Church, it felt like my safe place.

Nobody judges you or even bats an eyelid.

Church in Dundee.

The hosts that run the show, Demi Pointe and Anne Spank, went above and beyond for me.

Realising there were people out there like that made me feel so happy.

Demi was the first drag queen I was able to speak to in person and this was a huge boost to my confidence.

I have since met so many lovely people through Bingo Wigs, people who I now count as friends and am extremely grateful for.

Demi is such a nice person and very supportive of me.

‘Highlight of my day and week’

Bingo Wigs is always the highlight of my day and week because it’s the one time I can be 100% myself in a social setting without the fear of being laughed at or stared at by people who just cannot mind their own business.

My family – who come with me every week – are really happy.

Lauren with parents Michael and Lisa. Credit: Elliot Cansfield.

They see the confidence Bingo Wigs has given me. They know how much it’s helped me speak to people I’d never have spoken to before.

The majority of people who come to Bingo Wigs come every week so it feels like a family itself.

Interviewing Demi for The Courier earlier this year is one of my proudest moments and hopefully the first of many articles I’ll have published.

The show has also helped me speak to new people in school, where I have always been quiet and shy because I’ve never wanted any unnecessary attention on me.

But making conversation has become much easier.

I think everyone has, or at least should have, their own happy place.

You can’t put a price on having somewhere to go where you can express yourself without judgement or fear.

If you’re ever in Dundee on a Tuesday at 7pm, please come along!

‘I felt like me for the first time’: Dundee club manager on becoming a drag queen

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