NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A community long hoped this day would come. Now that it's arrived, they couldn't be more proud. An honor is coming for a voice for important causes.

Right down Carney Street, there's a bar named Trax. It's a stage that is often played host to Mark Middleton, who performed as Bianca Paige.

"He was a performer all over the country, but as far as Nashville, he owned that city," said longtime friend Ron Sanford.

Ron said Mark could be just about anyone on stage, including the Carol Burnett character, Eunice.

"Once he hit the stage, and the spotlight hit him, all eyes were on him," said Ron. "He commanded the stage."

There was something else that set Bianca Paige apart from other performers. Living HIV positive, Mark was very frank and open about AIDS.

"He felt he should use his persona to teach people about testing and getting tested," said Ron. "It was amazing for him to do that because nobody was doing it. In his lifetime, he raised a million dollars for AIDS organizations, especially the Vanderbilt children with AIDS. He was the people's hero as far as HIV and AIDS were concerned."

In 2010, Mark died from lymphoma.

The metro council Tuesday night has given their final approval to rename Carney Street as Bianca Paige Way.

"For them to do that last night, it brings tears to my eyes," said Ron. "It's not the most prolific street, but it's a street. I miss him every day."

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Reporter

Forrest Sanders is an award-winning reporter, videographer and editor at News4.

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