The Grand Opera House was filled with excitement and joy on Sept. 28 during the Broadway Does Pride Cabaret show, hosted as part of Macon Pride Week. The event not only included the cabaret show, but it showcased the Georgia Equality Exhibit as well.
The performers at the show were a group of powerful, loving, and moving people. The talent included Christina Leon, Kelley Dixon, Sam Mathis, Alexis Webb, Chas Pridgen, Yutoya Leon, Brent Jones and Mckinley Starks, who was also the pianist throughout the show.
One of the show’s hosts, Julia Rubens, described the Grand Opera House’s “Broadway Does…” series as one of “spectacular voices” and “a little bit country, a little bit rock‘n’ roll, and a whole lot of big, gay broadway energy.”
During Yutoya Leon’s performance, Leon spoke about how some people are lucky to have a great support system but sympathize with those that struggle to be their authentic selves in front of people they love.
“I’m here to tell you, me, Yutoya Leon, I love each and every one of you, no matter what you look like, no matter how you act, it doesn’t matter. I love all of you. Pride is about love,” Leon said.
This event, along with the rest of Macon Pride Week, brings the community together. Charlotte Storey, vice president of Macon Pride, explained that having the event at the Grand Opera House, a historical site, ties it to the community.
Members of the community came out on Wednesday night to not only enjoy amazing music but also to support the unique way Macon celebrates pride. “I’m there to support the night, enjoy some great music, and have a great time,” Denisia Franklin, community member, said.
Before the performance, the Georgia Equality Exhibit was on display for all to see. The display showcases legends and activists in the community. DeMarcus Beckham, who started the exhibit, is passionate about history and celebrating the “local pioneers and trailblazers.”
Each year, they add three new inductees to the exhibit. This year’s additions were Steven Fulbright, Sgt. Anna Lange and Anita Ponder. Beckham explained that they wanted to include Fulbright in this year’s induction to recognize and celebrate him, in light of his recent passing.
The exhibit said that Fulbright “focused on cultivating a community that was inclusive and welcoming.” He earned the Macon Arts Alliance Cultural Award in 2019 and was one of Macon Magazine’s “Five under 40” leaders in 2017.
Ponder was the former president of Macon City Council and director of education at the Tubman African American Museum. She was one of the first openly gay city officials and is currently a practicing attorney.
Lange is a criminal investigator for the Houston County Sheriff’s Office and fought for transgender healthcare in federal court. She recently won the three-year legal battle and because of her, “no other transgender person will be denied transgender-related healthcare in the South,” according to her exhibit board.
Lange received an anonymous nomination and Macon Pride reached out to tell her that she was being inducted into the exhibit. “It’s an honor for sure. I’m among dedicated individuals who’ve paved the way in front of me,” she said.
Lange was excited “to share fellowship with our community to celebrate it” at the event.
Beckham explained that Macon pride is different from other pride celebrations in Georgia because it has an entire week and more of a community feel. “Macon pride is very much so a community-based pride,” they said.
The show was lively and interactive. Each performer had the audience laughing, crying, clapping or all of the above!