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Impulse :: Our Sex, Our Cities, Our Lives

by Jose Ramos
Sunday Sep 10, 2017

In 2009 I invited a few of my close friends over with a simple text, "I have wine come over!" The wine, however, was only a small portion of what I wanted to share. The true reason was my desire to finally divulge my idea for Impulse Group, which had been swirling around in my head for some time.

Impulse Group is an international organization dedicated to promoting healthier sexual lifestyles among gay men around the world, and came from a very personal place. Born after watching my friend get increasingly sick with a disease that I had only heard about until that moment. No longer something in my neighborhood, HIV/AIDS was at my front door and I could no longer ignore it.

After learning about my idea to form a volunteer group of active gay men around the world in collaboration with AIDS Healthcare Foundation, my friends and I snapped into action. I had been friends with Michael Weinstein, the President and Founder of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) for some time. AHF had wanted to find a fresh approach to advocacy within the LGBT community and once all the pieces came together, we had our very first event in L.A. on the roof of the AHF Worldwide building. With Weinstein's mentorship, we took Impulse from my kitchen to ten countries around the world.

We were expecting maybe 50 people total at the initial event, but then 51 showed up, 51 became 52, 52 became 100, which became 300, and by the end of the event we had more than 500 people in attendance. Madonna (I'm her number one fan) once sang, "Everybody comes to Hollywood." As I stood on AHF's roof with the Hollywood sign looking down on us, surrounded by a community that tends to be hard to impress, I realized that this was truly a "Hollywood moment." We knew we had something special and needed to not only keep it going, but to see who else had a passion that they needed ignited.

With support from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Impulse volunteers, we worked to create campaigns, events and online content in order to reach a new generation of gay men who live in this modern and rapidly evolving world. As Impulse moved forward, we started to become more strategic in how and where we opened chapters. How do we bring this mission elsewhere? We lived in Los Angeles, what do we know about other cities? What works in L.A. won't necessarily work in Atlanta, and what works in Mexico City might not work in South Florida.

What makes Impulse so successful is that the group is, and always will
be, something by the community, for the community. When we enter a new city, we ask that the community help to mold Impulse for their neighborhood. In doing so, we aren't just making sure that the city has a place where they can be who they are, we are empowering leadership in a few, to better help the many. We want to help build the platform that helps people better advocate a mission designed to create the best version of their community for all.

Watching Impulse grow in the community has been inspiring. We curate events like the "Big Hard Talk," where guests can speak with health, sex and drug rehabilitation experts. We recently hosted an event to address what it means to have consensual sex and the importance of a healthy and safe sex life. We partner with well-known events such as Matinee; Impulse is a condom sponsor and interacts with attendees to ensure that while they have fun, they don't risk their health for it.

The most important thing to Impulse Group is the betterment of the LGBT community overall, beginning in each locale. We are committed to continuously searching out new and innovative ways to bring the message of empowerment to all.

For more information about Impulse Group, how you can help by becoming a volunteer, as well as all about their global chapters, go to impulsegrp.org

Copyright Rage Monthly. For more articles from Rage visit www.ragemonthly.com


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