Miami Beach Gay Pride has announced its marshals for the 2017 parade.
Yes, marshals. Four of them this year.
“For the first time in its nine-year history, Miami Beach Gay Pride will honor four individuals who have made significant contributions to the LGBT community as Pride Marshals,” according to a new release on Wednesday. “Television personality and pop culture expert Ross Mathews will serve as Grand Marshal; celebrity bartender and cast member of iHeart Radio’s “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show,” “Uncle” Johnny Pool, will serve as the Advocate Marshal; and philanthropists and advocates Liebe and Seth Gadinsky will serve as Ally Marshals.”
The year’s grand marshal recently found himself caught up in the Milo Yiannopoulos mess, when the ex-Breitbart senior editor made an off-handed comment during a press conference that many parents fear their gay sons will “end up like Ross Mathews.”
Mathews responded with a Facebook video that has been seen nearly three million times:
“He can call me whatever he wants to call me,” Mathews said. “But I want to tell you something that drives me: I am driven by knowing that when I was a kid growing up in a farmtown, I couldn’t point at anybody on TV like me, and say ‘Look, I can grow up to be like that. I can grow up to be happy, and 100 percent myself, and open and honest and successful and proud of who I am, even if it’s different.’”
Previous marshals have included iHeart Radio’s Elvis Duran, Gloria Estefan, Chaz Bono and Andy Cohen.
This year’s Miami Beach Gay Pride, presented by Celebrity Cruises, runs April 7-9. The big parade begins noon April 9 along Ocean Drive. View a full schedule of events at www.miamibeachgaypride.com/events.
Here’s a profile of Mathews I wrote in June 2013, when he performed at the Colony Theatre in South Beach:
Ross the Intern to man up in South Beach
Ross the Intern has gone from unpaid “Tonight Show” outsider to star author and showbiz insider. Tuesday night he arrives at the Colony Theatre in South Beach.
“It’s a one-man show — lights, sound effects, images, a game show with the audience, “ says Ross Mathews, who’s on tour promoting his new book, “Man Up! Tales of My Delusional Self-Confidence.” “We do some pop culture stuff at the top. Then I bring some stories to life and tell some stories that are not in the book. We get a little blue, so if you bring your grandma, get her a little drunk.”
Following each performance, Mathews meets his public. “I stay afterward and sign every book and take every picture.”
Mathews says that the last time he and partner Salvador Camarena were in Miami “we had the most amazing time, “ going to Washington Avenue gay bar Twist every night and dining with Gloria and Emilio Estefan.
“Could it get any better?” he says.
Mathews “grew up as a big gay cartoon kid” in rural Mount Vernon, Washington.
“There weren’t a lot of people like me growing up, but I had and have a wonderful family behind me, “ he says.
Quips and snappy comebacks were Mathews’ “defense mechanism.”
“If someone picked on me, I could outsmart them, in one sentence cut them down to size. I was this choir-band-drama kid. It was my weapon to get me friends, keep bullies at bay. It was my tool. Humor always helps.”
He wrote “Man Up!” for boys and girls like him. “I could have written a trashy, red carpet tell-all book. I didn’t want to, of course, “ he says. “I wanted to put something out that was, of course, funny, but also had a message. So little farm kids around the country could say ‘I can be happy, have a relationship and be successful.’ “
Mathews describes himself as “33, but with the skin of a 19-year-old.”
“I remember being a kid, knowing I was gay and thinking what does that mean to me? I didn’t have anything to compare to that. I didn’t have an example. It was before “Queer Eye,” before “Will & Grace.” Perhaps that’s why when I got this platform I didn’t want to use it without planting a seed, “ said Mathews, who was mentored by Jay Leno, Rosie O’Donnell and Chelsea Handler.
Mathews and Camarena are together almost five years. “We met like the pilgrims did, at a bar, “ Mathews says. “I could never do online dating.”
They currently are dads to a maltipoo and a Chihuahua. “We’re going to have children, we’re going to get married. I’m very traditional. Let’s get married first, then have children.”