No. 1 morning radio host Elvis Duran says more people prefer to talk about his 100-pound weight loss than his on-air coming out of the closet. But since Miami Beach Gay Pride is this weekend and Duran will be the colorful parade’s grand marshal, we’d rather talk about that.
“It wasn’t a planned thing at all,” Duran, 51, says of how he publicly revealed his sexuality during a 2010 broadcast. “I don’t even remember what the conversation was about. It was about relationships or something. And I just started talking about a date I had been on the night before and I just talked about the guy I had been on a date with. It was with a guy. It wasn’t about ‘Oh my God, it was a guy!’ It was more of ‘I was on a date with this guy, blah, blah, blah’ and it came out.
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Duran, whose New York-based morning show is heard on Y-100 FM in South Florida, says up to seven million radio listeners tune in every week. “Start adding iHeart Radio, we don’t even know where they’re listening, but they’re everywhere. Then you add social media and people who listen to our podcast and our replay channel, we have yet to come up with a definitive answer. We know it’s between one person and 10 million weekly.”
His listeners’ age range: “a little bit under 18 and a lot over 54”
Duran, originally of McKinney, Texas, says he “started going to the gay bars when I had a fake ID when I was 16.”
“I’ve been out for years with my friends and my colleagues,” Duran says. “I used to come to the gay pride parades in New York. I’ve been to a few down in Miami Beach, if memory serves. It’s all a big blur at this point.”
In December 2014, Duran had surgery to lose weight.
“Having the gastric sleeve procedure and losing 120 pounds, it was a huge difference in how I look in such a short amount of time, it really garnered all the attention. The ‘being gay thing’ was like, ‘Oh, OK. But back to this weight loss thing …’ I have no problem with that. I think that’s fine. I don’t think we have to make a big thing about being gay, except for when we get together for these gay pride events. And especially Miami Beach Gay Pride, which is arguably the most festive, the most colorful in the world.”
Duran says gay pride festivals today are different than ones he attended as a young man.
“We were at gay pride in Atlanta several years ago. I noticed the difference in that gay pride parade that year versus maybe 20 years ago,” he says. “It was a lot less emphasis on go-go boys and dykes on bikes, which is fine — I love go-go boys and dykes on bikes, don’t get me wrong — but there were a lot of teachers marching for their gay students. There were parents who were proud of their gay kids, they were marching together. There was more of a social conscience thing going on, as well as the fun and the partying. It was a great mix of fun and serious. I’m hoping, assuming, we’re going to see that mix in the Miami Beach Gay Pride events, as well, the festival and the booths, as well.”
Duran, who isn’t being compensated for his Miami Beach Gay Pride appearances, will attend several related events this weekend, including a VIP reception 7:30 p.m. Friday and an LGBTQ fundraiser 9 p.m. Saturday, both at W South Beach, 2201 Collins Ave. He’ll also broadcast his national show on Monday morning from South Florida.
Many radio castmates, including gay “Uncle Johnny,” will join Duran and boyfriend Alex Carr on a float at Sunday’s parade.
Duran also is bringing a “guest of honor,” according to People.com: Australian rap star Iggy Azalea, who last year canceled an appearance at Pittsburgh Pride after activists learned she had sent several homophobic tweets in 2010. Immediately after the Pittsburgh fiasco, Azalea issued an apology via Twitter.
Several Miami Beach Gay Pride board members have told the Miami Herald they want to make clear: On his own, Duran invited Azalea at his expense.
Duran has not publicly addressed bringing Azalea to Miami Beach. But earlier he told the Herald: “The only angst this year at the parade will be parking.”
Steve Rothaus: 305-376-3770, @SteveRothaus
2016 Miami Beach Gay Pride Festival
When: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, April 10. Parade featuring grand marshal Elvis Duran begins at noon on Ocean Drive from Fifth to 15th streets.
Where: Lummus Park, 11th to 14th streets, Miami Beach.
Online: For more information about the festival, parade and other events, visit www.miamibeachgaypride.com.