LGBTQ South Florida

Olympic medalist Gus Kenworthy to be Miami Beach Gay Pride grand marshal

2018 Olympic silver medalist Gus Kenworthy will be Miami Beach Gay Pride’s 2018 parade grand marshal.
2018 Olympic silver medalist Gus Kenworthy will be Miami Beach Gay Pride’s 2018 parade grand marshal. NBC

Olympic silver medalist Gus Kenworthy, whose good-luck kiss with his boyfriend during the February games in PyeongChang was broadcast worldwide, will be celebrity grand marshal of the 10th annual Miami Beach Gay Pride parade on April 8.

Miami Beach Gay Pride parade 090
An estimated 135,000 attended the 2017 Miami Beach Gay Pride parade and festival. STEVE ROTHAUS Miami Herald File

“Hot off his competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Gus is thrilled to lead the parade at Miami Beach Gay Pride,” according to a news release Friday morning from the pride committee.

Freestyle skier Kenworthy won a silver medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The next year, he came out publicly in an ESPN magazine cover story. The profile began by quoting Kenworthy, then age 24: “I guess I should start by saying, ‘I’m gay.’”

Last month, Kenworthy was one of several out athletes to compete in PyeongChang. After NBC broadcast his kiss with boyfriend Matt Wilkas on live TV, Kenworthy tweeted:

“Didn't realize this moment was being filmed yesterday but I'm so happy that it was. My childhood self would never have dreamed of seeing a gay kiss on TV at the Olympics but for the first time ever a kid watching at home CAN! Love is love is love.”

Joining Kenworthy in the gay pride parade noon Sunday, April 8, along Ocean Drive, will be NBC6 weekend anchor Roxanne Vargas, this year’s ally grand marshal.

Roxanne Vargas
NBC6 weekend anchor Roxanne Vargas, host of the program ‘6 in the Mix,’ will be Miami Beach Gay Pride’s 2018 parade ally grand marshal. MARIO REGUERA

“Roxanne Vargas has been an enthusiastic supporter of Pride and of the LGBTQ community for many years,” according to the pride committee. “She has been a vocal advocate of the LGBTQ community and continues to spread messages of diversity and inclusion from the platforms provided through her station.”

After the parade, disco legend Thelma Houston (“Don’t Leave Me This Way”) will perform at 8 p.m. on the pride main stage. At 9 p.m., vocalist Taylor Dayne takes the stage.

Last year, an estimated 135,000 attended the parade. Previous marshals and entertainers have included Andy Cohen, Chaz Bono, Ross Mathews, Bebe Rexha, Mario Lopez, Elvis Duran, Iggy Azalea, Jordin Sparks, Gloria Estefan and Adam Lambert.

“Gus and Roxy are two preeminent public figures who well represent and support the LGBTQ community. Gus for being a role model as an out and proud sportsman who excels at his craft and Roxy for being a prominent ally for the community and equal rights,” said Mark Fernandes, chairman of the Pride board of directors.

The first Miami Beach Gay Pride parade was in 2009, planned originally as a small neighborhood event to help develop business on South Beach. Then, 15,000 people showed up.

The second year, an estimated 40,000 attended. By 2013, that number doubled and in 2014, an estimated 100,000 attended. Most celebrants are believed to come from throughout Miami-Dade County and South Florida.

Gay pride events

2018 Miami Beach Gay Pride events also include:

▪ Raising the rainbow flag over Miami Beach City Hall, 1700 Convention Center Dr. at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 2

▪ Pride Lights the Night, 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 2, at 1111 Lincoln Rd.

▪ Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Spotlight Mega-Mixer, 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, at Shore Club, 1901 Collins Ave.

▪ VIP gala 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, April 6, Faena Forum, 3300 Collins Ave.

For a complete list of events, visit miamibeachgaypride.com/events.

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