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Royalty Road: Nashville Dedicates Bianca Paige Way in Honor of Drag Queen and HIV/AIDS Advocate Bianca Paige


Bianca Paige

Pride was memorialized on the streets of Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday when city officials renamed a street for Bianca Paige, one of the city’s most legendary drag queens and HIV/AIDS activists.

Nashville city officials, including Mayor John Cooper, dedicated the former Carney Street as Bianca Paige Way at a dedication ceremony Saturday. The location is significant to Paige’s history as the gay bar Trax, where Paige regularly performed and held court, is located on the street.

“Today, I joined so many to celebrate and honor the life of Bianca Paige, a Nashville legend,” said Cooper. “It’s really amazing. Mark’s legacy in town is so memorable, and everything he’s done for HIV and AIDS. Eleven years later, we’re still celebrating him and honoring him,” Ron Sanford, a close friend of Paige, told News4 Nashville.

Brought to life by performer Mark Middleton, Paige was a staple at drag performances across Nashville for decades until his death from lymphoma in 2010, but Middleton’s true legacy lies in his fundraising efforts for HIV/AIDS research and treatment. He put a face to the cause in Nashville in the mid-90s when he publicly revealed his HIV-positive status on-stage during a performance.

“Mark decided that he was going to be the one, to be the only performer, to use his stage and his persona to get it out there,” Sanford said. “He was determined to not only tell kids and people what was going on, but to get tested and to know your status.”

Middleton donated tips from his performances to Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Pediatric and Adolescent HIV/AIDS clinic. Middleton and Sanford founded the Bianca Paige Awareness Network to continue their HIV?AIDS advocacy and Middleton added charity events and advocacy work with Nashville Cares, ultimately raising upward of $1 million dollars for the cause before his death.

“That’s how we took care of our sick. If we – our own people – would not have come in and done the things that we did, there would have been thousands and thousands more that died,” Sanford told the Nashville Scene. “When we lost Mark 11 years ago, Nashville became a little less colorful and a lot less raucous,” Cooper said. The city celebrated Paige during Pride month in Nashville with Bianca Paige Day celebrations since 2011.

We have to keep the name out there and get people revitalized with it

Ron Sanford

Cooper and others claimed during the dedication that Bianca Paige Way was the first street named for a drag queen, but there have been at least two streets previously rechristened to honor notable queens. The first known street to hold that honor is San Francisco, CA’s Jose Sarria Court, named for groundbreaking drag performer and political activist Jose Sarria in 2006.

Sarria, proclaimed as Empress Jose I, founded the League for Civil Education in 1960, the Imperial Court of San Francisco in 1965 and became the first out gay man to run for political office when he pursued a seat on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.

In 2019, Columbus, OH renamed Hull Alley to Nina West Way for notable Rupaul’s Drag Race competitor Nina West.

Even if Bianca Paige Way isn’t the first in the nation, the historic nature of its dedication isn’t lessened. It guarantees that the memory of Nashville’s most prolific and beloved queen will persist and inspire for years to come. “Do I think that he thought that he would ever have a street named after him? No. He knew he was doing good,” Sanford said. “He used to say, ‘My talent is God’s gift to me. What I do with that talent is my gift to God and my community.’ … we have to keep the name out there and get people revitalized with it.”

Nashville: Previously on Towleroad

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Rosie O’Donnell has more to say about Ellen but we’re not so sure she’s gonna appreciate it

“I have an understanding of the cycle of show business and kind of what happens in people’s careers and when enough is enough. And oftentimes, people don’t know that, you know?

I don’t think it was the ‘be kind’ thing that got her. I think that’s an oversimplification. But it was a lot of things and it was complicated.

I’m glad that she’s, you know, going to be finished and she can get some time to herself to just, I mean, it’s a huge kind of strange thing to be on a show like that and have all that attention on you. And she had it for, like, 19 years. So, you know, it’s a tough thing.”Rosie O’Donnell speaking to SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show about Ellen’s epic fall from grace.

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Court Stalls Trans Toilet Attack, Dumps First Case; But Alito, Thomas Can Flush Minor LGBTQ Win By Waiting For a Looser No. 2 Case: Busy-Bee Days End Session

trans toilet

trans toilet
Trans toilet illustration. Simple symbol from UCSD, Meme compiles. Credits at end.

Trans Toilet Case: In a limited but important victory for transgender access, the U.S. Supreme Court announced June 28 that it would not review a lower court decision that favored a transgender student’s restroom access at a public high school.

The court declined a request by a Virginia public school district to review a decision of the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which covers five states—Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Maryland. By refusing to hear the appeal, the high court leaves the favorable decision intact for those states.

The case, Gloucester v. Grimm, has been on the U.S. Supreme Court docket before. In 2017, the high court vacated a previous Fourth Circuit ruling in favor of high school student Gavin Grimm, who was represented by the ACLU. Grimm had filed suit after he began transitioning and sought use of the boys’ restroom because he said girls reacted negatively to his presence in the girls’ restrooms because they perceive him to be a boy.

School officials initially accommodated Grimm’s request, but the school district intervened after some parents complained. The ACLU pressed Grimm’s case and won, and the Fourth Circuit repeatedly ruled in Grimm’s favor.

In the latest go-round, the Fourth Circuit ruled in Grimm’s favor, citing the Supreme Court’s ruling last year in Bostock v. Clayton (that “sex discrimination” under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act includes sexual orientation and gender identity). The appeals court said the same logic should apply to the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in education.

“After the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, we have little difficulty holding that a bathroom policy precluding Grimm from using the boys’ restrooms discriminated against him ‘on the basis of sex’,” said the Fourth Circuit.

Trans Toilet Opinions. Photo By Quinnanya In UCSD Restroom

The Gloucester school district in Virginia appealed again to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that, under Title IX of the federal Education Amendments Act, schools are allowed to provide separate bathrooms for the sexes. By refusing to hear the appeal, the Supreme Court does not take a position on the issue, but the impact is meaningful.

“This is an incredible victory for Gavin and for transgender students around the country,” said Josh Block, senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s national LGBTQ & HIV Project.

Paul Castillo, an attorney with Lambda Legal, also called the Supreme Court’s refusal to take the appeal an “incredible victory.”

“There should be no doubt that federal law requires schools to protect all students. Courts all over the country, as well as the federal government have made crystal clear that LGBTQI+ students are protected by federal law and have a right to an equal education, to be protected against harassment and discrimination, and to a school environment where they can be their authentic selves,” said Castillo.

Specifically, the Fourth Circuit ruled—and the Supreme Court allowed to stand—that Title IX of the Education Amendments Act and the equal protection clause of the constitution “can protect transgender students from school bathroom policies that prohibit them from affirming their gender.”

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito indicated they dissented from the court’s refusal to take the appeal.

The Supreme Court did not indicate June 28 whether it will hear two other LGBTQ-related appeals. One, Arlene’s Flowers v. Washington, is making its second appearance on the high court’s potential case list. It, like Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado, asks whether a business serving the public can deny service to a same-sex couple because of the business owner’s religious hostility to same-sex marriage.

The other, Dignity Health v. Minton, asks whether a Catholic-run hospital can deny a hysterectomy to a female-to-male transgender patient as part of treatment for gender dysphoria. The hospital chain in question says its Catholic-run hospitals would be violating Catholic “religious directives” to provide such treatment.

© 2021 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

Trans Toilet previously on Towleroad

Credits first image: Images by Sara Mirk, @_michaelhughes1, vectorpocket , Combined image may be used at no charge under (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Lil Nas X answers whether he’s ‘top or bottom’ and we have to stan


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A post shared by Lil Nas X (@lilnasx)

Lil Nas X has responded to a follower on Twitter who asked him whether he was a top or bottom. The rapper responded, “Power bottom.”

Lil Nas X has a huge following on social media, and he’s been using it all week to comment on the reaction to his groundbreaking performance at the BET Awards on Sunday night when he kissed one of his dancers. Yesterday’s exchange began with him tweeting that given the comments generated by one kiss, next time he might go even further.

That tweet had over 334k likes at the time of writing. It prompted user @kevinabstract to ask Lil Nas X about his favored position. That elicited the “power bottom” response.

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Lil Nas X followed this up with a quote from the poet Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie which he not so subtly altered, swapping the word “girls” for “bottoms”.

“We teach our bottoms to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to bottoms, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the top.”

Related: Lil Nas X kisses one of his male dancers on stage during BET Awards

Whether Lil Nas X was giving a straight answer or again being provocative is unclear. Some fans pointed out that on his track ‘Holiday’, he sang, “I might bottom on the low, but I top shit.”

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In April, during an Instagram Q&A, he said he got asked this question a lot and suggested there was something misogynistic in dividing men into being tops or bottoms.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by T TIME NETWORK (@ttimenetwork)

Lil Nas X anticipated his performance at the BET Awards would provoke some controversy, and has taken the time to respond to some of the criticism he has received. On Monday, he responded to a (since-deleted) tweet from someone saying, ““even the OG gays are sick of Lil Nas X’s s**t”.

Lil Nas X responded, “y’all hate yourselves so much. y’all live your lives trying your best to appease straight ppl. y’all are uncomfortable with what i do because y’all are afraid they will be uncomfortable with you. work on yourselves, i love who i am and whatever i decide to do. get there.”

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He also reminded people what his song, ‘MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)’ is about.

Another Twitter critic tried to blast Lil Nas X as insecure, saying, “You’re so insecure about your sexuality you’re over compensating for it every chance you get. Gay people who know themselves don’t constantly have to remind eveyone that they are gay. Take a look at yourself on the mirror bro.”

Lil Nas X replied, “You’re right i am insecure about my sexuality. i still have a long way to go. i’ve never denied that. when you’re conditioned by society to hate yourself your entire life it takes a lot of unlearning. which is exactly why i do what i do.”

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He later posted a tweet that many gay people might relate to, saying how nervous he had been about being so open about his sexuality in front of a room of mainly straight peers.

“It took me a lot of time to mentally prepare for this performance. while on stage i was trembling knowing that i was performing something like that in front of my straight peers. even during the performance i was having a hard time calming my nerves. thank you guys for the love.”

He posted a further thought that everyone would do well to remind themselves about daily.

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“If you don’t push yourself outside of your comfort zone you will never grow.”

Related: Up close with Yai Ariza, dancer who kissed Lil Nas X on stage

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