South Florida Impulse Group Cries “Victim” After Being Busted For Age Discrimination – Read The Letter

Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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10 Responses

  1. Ryan says:

    If you’d like to follow up directly with a member of the group able to speak on it’s behalf, please email me, the Vice President, at your convenience. It would be helpful as there is information in this post that is inaccurate.

    • Will Kohler says:

      Did you or did you not charge men over 40 admission while allowing men under 40 in for free? That is the most important information.

      • Ryan says:

        In my reply to Bob below, I explain the pricing structure in detail. Please check it out, it should help clear the air. In summary though, no one got in for free.

  2. Bob in Chicago says:

    So Mr. Vice President Ryan, you don’t supply your full name or your email address. What are you afraid of? Why don’t your address the issues here?

    • Ryan says:

      I did supply my email address along with the comments, it’s required. My name is Ryan Hughes, I’ve been Vice President of this organization for over 18 months, prior to that I was the Advocacy Director. You can reach me directly at As for the issues here, we do not focus on the sexual and overall health of the gay community. We focus specifically on gay males 18-35. Our primary goal is to reduce the rate of new HIV/AIDS infections within that demographic, educate them on various means of reducing risk, provide a safe and welcoming environment to openly discuss issues related to sex, reduce the stigma associated with a positive diagnosis, encourage frequent testing along with a variety of other related services.

      In order to find out what the gaps on our demographic’s knowledge are and their level of education on various means of risk reduction as well as find out how frequently they use those means we asked that they take a survey prior to being admitted into the event in lieu of paying cover. Since we are not seeking the data related to the practices of men 40 and over and because we didn’t want to not include all ages, we asked that those men pay a deeply discounted fee. $50 was a fraction of the per person cost of the event. Other similar events held in our community that offered fewer amenities and provided limited food and drinks, or had a cash bar, have been known to cost around $150 and last an hour or longer less than our event.

      So you see, no one got in for free. We either waived admission for survey data used to tailor messaging and information at future events or asked a subsidized amount. If an individual refused to take the survey, they would have been asked to pay the same amount regardless of age. The term “troll tax” is disrespectful and derogatory in our eyes and whoever used the slur originally should be held responsible for it. Not us.

      What we found “unacceptable” are the outrageous, hateful comments that some Facebook users left on our wall and printed across photos of the group. Some of the comments were directed at us and some were leveled at our detractors. Either way, we were shocked and dismayed at how out of hand it got. We are one community and we receive enough of that sort of speech from those outside, so to see it from one gay man to another was upsetting and disheartening to us.

  3. Bob in Chicago says:

    Thanks Ryan. I speak for myself and not Will. I find your explanation helpful, thorough and I wish you and your organization much success. I do understand that HIV transmission among young gay men is frighteningly high but so is HIV transmission among maturing gay men as well. I am one of those victims. If your mission is the younger generation then I appreciate and support your endeavor. But because of ageism in the gay community it would be helpful to be sure that your mission is clear and perhaps apologetic to those of us old guys that don’t meet the requirements of your program. Again good luck and much success.

    • Ryan says:

      We hear you loud and clear Bob. Thank you so much for understanding what we’re trying to do. It’s a big job, but we’re going to do everything we can to make a difference. In the future, there will be a clearer explanation up front about why we have this structure in place. This is the third annual pool party we’ve had, although the first in Miami. Since the first one we haven’t had any questions about the structure, but it’s new territory since we expanded from Fort Lauderdale to South Florida and it definitely bears repeating. The remainder of our events throughout 2015 do not share this pricing and are open to anyone interested in attending; we usually ask for survey data, proof of recent testing (not results, just proof of testing), or some other health related request in lieu of cover. We are looking forward to launching in Chicago in the near future and we hope to see you at one of that chapter’s events.

      Again, thank you for taking the time to read my lengthy response, I’m glad it was worthwhile.

      • Will Kohler says:

        One week later the “survey waive” comes out. I will let your comments stand. But I am also letting the original post stand. Perhaps next time you can show some sensitivity and thought to “pricing structure” since its offended so many in our community. Because it was that which drove the wedge. Not the reactions of those offended.

  4. I felt the people who came up with this lame idea forgot about the unsung heroes of the early gay rights movement. It was those now dead or at least over 40, including many courageous drag queens who fought anti-gay laws,to change them. We were in the front lines of that movement in many cities that never accepted life in closets,at home,in schools and the work place and life.

    Most segments of society has always honored its senior members. We pat ourselves on our back for the marches,planed or impromptu that we took part and honored with the respect we receive by those who ask us about those times… not so long ago here, there and everywhere.

    No longer do you have to hide,or fear being called queer, or being arrested just for being gay or forced to live in gay ghettos or closets. I know this to be fact and recall that I quit a Chicago high school in the early 1950’s because I had those tendencies. I left Chicago because it was taboo to be be gay,especially if you grew up there. Back then there were no support groups for young or any aged gay person. I am proud of my contributions and have been honored by being inducted into the City of Chicago Senior Hall of Fame, that noted my 40 years of being in the gay rights movement. I have spoken to kids who belong to the Gay/Straight Alliance after school program and tell them how lucky they are to have organizations like them and of the time before they existed.

  5. Ty says:

    I’m in my 30s. Impulse Group is funded extraordinarily, so not sure why “price structure” is excuse or answer or related. People like brass tax, this policy was to encourage twentysomethings to get naked and not have drunk “50-year-old men looking at them”. A selling point to steer a demographic to some pictures. That whole letter is like a defense to a selfie, completely misguided. I don’t think your organization understands the significance of the policy.

    A target age group for awareness has nothing to do with the policy. This is like saying an organization that tries to support people with diabetes can only be attended by people with diabetes. No one does that.

    Respective organizations don’t defend themselves with smoke and mirror reasoning. Has anyone with the organization even ask themselves whether having this conversation? Talking about hateful social media responses as if they you are victims? It was called Gay Cancer in the 80s. Those over 40s dealt with real threat and hate. You had some Facebook comments.

What do you think?