Dozens of young gay men — South Florida chapter members of a national group called Impulse — came to Wynwood Sunday to shamelessly celebrate their bodies, all types and sizes.
“Impulse Group is focused on HIV prevention, education and stigma reduction, as well as mental health issues and long-term drug abuse, that can all lead to a positive diagnosis,” said Adrian Vargas, the South Florida chapter president who grew up in Miami and now lives in Fort Lauderdale.
Vargas, 31, described Sunday’s “Point of View” (POV) event at R House Wynwood — with a truck outside for HIV testing — as a “party for the cause.”
“The idea behind today’s event is mental health, and people overcoming their body image prior to us moving into our next event, which is our annual pool party,” said Vargas, who’s been with Impulse about three-and-a-half years. The group’s upcoming pool party will be Sunday, Sept. 30, at the National Hotel in Miami Beach.
“More and more, people have all these expectations about themselves, and when they look in the mirror they start to beat themselves down and break themselves down,” Vargas said. “The idea behind this event is to really give a positive message, to tell people they need to focus inward and start loving themselves in order to appreciate themselves better.”
Said Vargas: “The best way to get a bathing suit body is to just put on a bathing suit.”
Impulse is primarily supported by AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Chapter Vice President Jaime Rodriguez, of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, has been a group member about five years.
“One of the great things about Impulse is that it started as a grassroots movement. It started in a kitchen in L.A. Now it’s in 21 chapters across the globe in nine countries. What’s really great is every chapter has a chance to evolve and grow within their own community,” said Rodriguez, 32.
He says the group’s POV campaign is especially important for young gay men, who in our culture are greatly pressured to have perfect bodies.
“Nowadays with social media, with any sort of advertising, you have this cookie-cutter image of what everyone is supposed to look like, and inclusion starts inside,” Rodriguez said. “You should always feel that you are accepted. The whole idea of the event is to create a foundation for personal growth. The better you feel inside, the more you project that outside.”
▪ To view photos from the Aug. 12 Impulse Group POV event, see Steve Rothaus’ LGBTQ South Florida page on Facebook, https://hrld.us/2Mlehri
▪ To learn more about Impulse Group, visit the South Florida chapter’s Facebook page, facebook.com/impulseSoFL.