Olympic silver medalist Gus Kenworthy is joining NBC6 anchor and host Roxanne Vargas for Grand Marshal duties at this year’s Miami Beach Gay Pride, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this week. The two marshals will lead the parade down Ocean Drive beginning at noon Sunday, April 8.
Kenworthy and Vargas will also be featured in the Pride VIP gala, which takes place from 7:30-10:30 p.m. Friday, April 6 at the Faena Forum, 3300 Collins Ave. Comedian Julie Goldman and Brandy Howard of the “People’s Couch” and the podcast, “Dumb Gay Politics” will be the hosts of the gala with music by DJ Adora.
Mark Fernandes, chairman of the Pride board of directors, said Kenworthy and Vargas were chosen as this year’s Grand Marshals because they are “two preeminent public figures who well represent and support the LGBTQ community.” He adds Kenworthy is a “role model as an out and proud sportsman who excels at his craft.”
Kenworthy first represented the U.S. in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, bringing home the silver medal in slopestyle. Since then he has earned seven World titles and five X Games medals and is known for being the first Olympic free skier to ever perform a double cork 1080 and right side 1440 in a halfpipe, a double flip on a hip jump and a flip off a rail. In 2015, Kenworthy came out as a gay man in an ESPN Magazine cover story. His on-camera good luck kiss from his boyfriend at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang recently went viral around the world.
SFGN spoke with Kenworthy to get his feedback on his role in this year’s Miami Beach Gay Pride and in the LGBT community overall. Here’s what he had to say.
Welcome to Miami. Have you visited here before? What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re staying here?
I've never been to Florida. I've heard nothing but good things about Miami Beach so I'm excited to make it down there. I think I'm most looking forward to the beautiful men, the beautiful weather and obviously the beautiful celebration of pride.
How do you feel about being selected as this year’s Grand Marshal for Miami Beach Gay Pride? What is the significance of these pride events to you and the LGBT community?
Pride means owning who you are and wanting to share yourself with the world. I think it’s important to celebrate Pride because for so long (and still today in many parts of the world) LGBTQ people have been forced to live in fear for their safety, and being “out” and "proud" weren't even options. As the Grand Marshal, I just hope to celebrate and share that experience with everyone in attendance.
What prompted you to come out at the time you did? Do you feel we are finally getting to a place where openly gay athletes are accepted?
It was just time for me. I wanted to help others and I did not want to live with the lie anymore myself. I hope it is more openly accepted, but there still seems to be a lot of work to do.
Do you feel your coming out has given LGBT youth and others the courage to live their lives openly? Do you feel you are a role model?
I just hope it encourages anybody and everybody, whether they’re LGBTQ or not, to live their life as honestly and authentically as possible. Take time to recognize who you are and the things that make you that person. Embrace those facts about yourself and then share them with the world. There's nothing more fulfilling than getting to live your truth, and I think only then can you hope to find happiness.
How active are you in the LGBT community? What causes are near and dear to your heart?
I feel very active. It is part of who I am, and I am so happy to have represented my country and the LGBTQ community at the Olympics. I am very supportive of all causes, but both the Trevor Project and Happy Hippie Foundation are two organizations that are very dear to me.
What’s next for Gus Kenworthy? What goals do you hope to accomplish personally and professionally?
[I’m] still considering the next four years and making a run at the 2022 Olympics. We will see how that plays out. I am also exploring other career opportunities and taking it all in right now to see what I might like to do next.
Want to hear more from Gus Kenworthy? Join Miami Beach Gay Pride from 1-2 p.m. Saturday, April 7, at Lummus Park, on the sand off 11th Street and Ocean Drive, as he and Ally Grand Marshal Roxanne Vargas are asked questions in an unscripted-style Q&A from the moderator, the media and Pride guests. The press conference is free and open to the public.