Over the last two weeks SFGN has published two news articles and one op-ed about Impulse Group South Florida's decision to charge folks over 40 a $50 fee to attend their recent pool party, while letting those under 40 in for free. The HIV education and prevention group has received a severe backlash in response. Here's what you had to say in response to our coverage. Visit SFGN.com/Impulse to read all of our recent coverage.
(Find more stories about Impulse at SFGN.com/Impulse)
Impulse Should Be Apologetic… #Fail
By: Justin Wyse
I have always stood by the community to promote a healthy lifestyle and taking care of yourself and most importantly knowing your status. The recent scandal if you will with Impulse Group of South Florida for me is not really the important issue (to fix this scandal just limit the patrons to your age demographic and nobody else would care.) Their mission is supposedly to educate and help men under the age of 35 learn how to have safe sex or at least make better choices.
Problem number one with their mission: how in the hell does having a pool party with half naked men running around and free booze provide a safe place to talk about AIDS? How is this behavior promoting change? Problem number two: bowls of condoms on tables is not marketing it’s something we see all over the community. When I looked at the photos posted by Impulse Group on their Facebook page I only noticed they had a huge poster with a hash tag on it, a step and repeat, full bar, lots of merchandise with the Impulse brand on it (blankets, beach balls etc…) Problem three: no signs stating Get Tested Today or anything to that affect. The group has since claimed that 20 people got tested out of 300 attendees. Way to go if you consider 7% tested a successful outcome.
Let’s talk about marketing 101 as Norm Kent calls it. When placing print marketing materials throughout the tri-county area you should inform people of what your ad is and what it’s for. Impulse failed on this with SFGN and Hotspots. They chose to do no further marketing to explain their event to the readers. The other point I would like to make on this subject is who is running the show that can’t even address the community and say “sorry we made a mistake and have learned from it”? This would have stopped the hateful messages and probably kept the community pretty quiet. Place ads that inform, educate and promote your message. Life isn’t all just a party.
The real questions many of us want to know and I saw throughout Facebook is this; what is your real goal of this group? It looks too many of us that it’s a great way to party and enjoy yourselves at the expense of AHF. You show up to events and drink and many get drunk. How is this the face of an organization you want people to take seriously and support?
I would love to know why you would post an apology letter but then a few minutes later tell people you’re unapologetic in a photo campaign?
Impulse we want answers, we deserve answers. We want to stand by you, but you won’t let us. Do something classy for a change to promote change. Right now you have FAILED our community!
I'm from out of state and have noticed a couple articles about this event and the only thing I actually know about it is that they discriminated against people over 40. Maybe you agree with the philosophy and maybe you don't, but from a purely PR perspective it sure sounds like a failure.
In any case in a community where there can be a lot of pressure and anxiety regarding getting older, a policy like this stings even more.
Oh Norm! In a single effort to kiss a sponsors ass you have a managed to offend SFGN's readers demographic as well as discredit your newspaper's original article by labeling it as "meritless". You obviously don't know all the comments and responses that were posted by the local gay community and how sensitive this matter is. Inform yourself before trivializing issues with a dumb article like this one.
Thank you Norm for all of your past work in the local community. It takes courage to be out front on some of the controversial issues facing our community.
However, your final paragraph is an insult to anyone over 40. You say: “You older folks, just settle down. You can get your senior discounts at the movie theater and bagel shops, but Impulse ought to be able to freely create their own agenda without you getting on their case.” Since when do people become seniors at age 40? No one asks for a senior discount to a fundraiser. Your comment is dismissive and demeaning. And it diminishes the accomplishments that you referenced in your op ed.
No one has said that Impulse must adapt their agenda to anything other than what they do BUT they need to be much more explicit about that agenda. Here’s what their website description says today:
The South Florida Chapter of an International Organization dedicated to the advancement of HIV/AIDS education and prevention in gay men 18-35. A non-profit organization that focuses on the sexual and overall health of the gay community in South Florida (Palm Beach, Broward, & Miami-Dade Counties). We are an organization dedicated to education about HIV, whose rates continue to rise in our demographic group in our geographic location, despite falling in other demographic groups. Impulse encourages HIV prevention by facilitating testing opportunities, providing condoms and other materials for safe or safer sex. Finally, we help promptly link any individuals that test positive with medical care.
As recently as April 22nd (after the party in question) the description mentioned nothing about a specific age range
It would seem that the attention drawn by this news story has brought about some changes in the website.
Many organizations have multilevel pricing for events based on specific criteria which you made reference to in your commentary. There are discounts available to seniors, students, AAA members, members of the armed forces, etc. with only one exception each of those discounts are based on external criteria which is verifiable and not subjective.
While Impulse’s focus is on 18-35 they opted to arbitrarily select 40 as the point at which people needed to pay for admission to the event. Did they include this information on invitations or flyers to the event? Or were they banking on the influx of cash they would receive from the other men who were interested in attending the event. How did they determine who would be charged? Was it based on ‘he looks over 40’ or were they checking the ID for everyone who entered? Unless they were checking ID the process was definitely arbitrary.
As regards the black tie event at the Hard Rock Casino, you have been around these circles long enough to know that such events are rarely attended by younger people. Not just in the gay community but in society overall those events are for the well-heeled, affluent folks who like to gather in the name of charity. They have polite conversation about the events of the day and feel good about themselves for making a difference in the world.
The great thing about holding events that target a specific audience is that it aims at reaching a specific audience, but it does not exclude or discriminate. The $150 plate dinner you mentioned is a flat fee. There are well to do 20 to 40 year olds and not well off 40+ individuals in our community. The dinner is not discriminatory.
What makes up a target? Rings. Sure, shoot for the bulls eye, but don't stop there. Our community programs should assist all they can. To take your argument and apply it to other educational and testing resources, should we just have mobile testing centers for certain ages? We'll park the one just for 18 to 29 year olds in front of the Manor, 30 to 49 in front of Village Pub with a charge, and 50+, well we'll be in the Tropics parking lot collecting a fee double that of others.
That's fair marketing, education, and testing, right?
But no, maybe we need to not allow people 40+ to get tested in mobile centers since they must have adequate health care and can afford it. They can go elsewhere. Those older individuals are utilizing resources and time that are needed for other people in our community. "25 percent of all new infections occur between the ages of 13 and 24. Ages 24 to 35 are not much better." I am sure those individuals are only having sex with people within their age brackets and never with older men that don't know their status. Throw your parties, market to your specified age group, but don't exclude or charge others out of your target market.
Imagine Hunters, Alibi, and other Wilton Manors bars charging all smooth guys on Bear Nights. I agree, Impulse does throw a great party and plans well. Come to think of it, I attended one of their parties during Gay Days Fort Lauderdale. There were 5 of us that went, 4 of us over 40. Now I feel pretty stupid for stepping foot into a venue that I was not welcome in.
At Fort Lauderdale Pride, Impulse had one of the loudest and busiest booths on the street. It was great to see the energy and enthusiasm and what they were doing, trying to reach out to a targeted audience, was fantastic and should be celebrated. But the tactics run the risk of us becoming backwards, exclusionary, and disrespectful. "You reach ... more [people] with fun than with fear?" They always say you catch more flies with honey.
Well, we all know that you catch more flies with sh*t. And we can always agree to disagree.
This is really a no-brainer! Let me try to put it in terms that you can understand — separate is never equal! If you're feeling this is a community event--where do you get off charging one segment of the community more than others? This was not a private party! It was a fundraiser in a community event.
Hypothetically speaking, if lesbians decided to attend do you charge them more than men? Do you even let them in at all? What about men of color? Do you charge them more or charge them less? If I showed up and told you I was 35-- do you "card me?" If so, what is your reason?
We care about stuff like this because our community is in a pitched legal battle all over America fighting for "equality" then our own community pulls a stunt like this! In case you missed it; The state of Indiana suffering financial consequences because of its "license to discriminate" laws--two very affluent Hotel moguls in New York are being boycotted by OUR community because the had a dinner party with Texas Bigot Ted Cruz-- yet you go and pull a stunt like this!
Shame on you!
Yes, all your events in the future should be boycotted! Yes, you should be publically shamed-- you cannot justify your actions with this simply because it was a "fund raiser"-- no, this event should be considered "off limits" in the future-- it sends a loud message we as a community hold ourselves accountable in the eyes of America and we wont tolerate this from our own-/separate is never equal-- and "age tax" is wrong and that’s what you did.
Mr. Parsley --
I very seldom write letters such as this, but I read the article about Impulse last evening, and I have to tell you that the underlying purpose of that organization's intent is exactly what was reported.
I have seldom been so outraged, but the blatant age discrimination and the lame defense of the policy is beyond belief.
The one telling sentence to me is that which refers to what the younger generation owes to those of us who worked so hard for our rights in the past.
I worked with Frank Kameny in the the 60's and 70's while living in Washington, D.C., with little praise, and little cooperation from almost everyone. Those efforts that we made paved the way for all of us, and have paid off.
Frankly, I never really believed that we would have come this far in my lifetime. This kind of policy that you reported is an unforgivable slap in the face to all of us.
Thank goodness you and Norm take no prisoners when it is appropriate to do so -- and, to assuage my feelings, I will remember something my late friend, Elizabeth Taylor, used to say ---- "Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together."
Life will go on.
Thanks for reading --
— C.M. Bryant