GAWA: Good As We Are
GAWA Health & Wellness is a publication that aims to become the go-to hub for the LGBTQ+ wellness enthusiast looking for a community to share ideas, inspiration, and articles specific to their identity. Their name, “Good As We Are”, represents self love and acceptance that speaks to the natural and holistic living that those in our community seek. They firmly believe that their community deserves to be passionately represented in a space that loves and cares for our entire well-being. AND THAT, is exactly why we needed to sit down with the face of GAWA to learn more about their work, mission and what the future looks like!
WAIT, BUT BEFORE WE DIVE IN Tell me everything about GAWA's official launch panel/workout on June 25th.
Nothing could be more appropriate than to do an official launch for GAWA during this Pride Month which marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots a historical moment that marks the start of the gay rights movement.
In the spirit of pride we'll get deep into our communities health and wellbeing hosting a rooftop morning workout followed by an open panel of LGBTQ+ and ally influencers to discuss the impact of health and wellness across our community.
You'll get to listen to the journeys of the top LGBTQ+ health and wellness influencers launching new brands and changing the game within the market.
Elise Young - Trainer | Athlete | Motivator
Luis Weber – Group Fitness Manager I Equinox
Edward Granger – American Artist
Erick Tatro – President of Front Runners New York
OKAY, GAWA - Let's start with the origin story. How did GAWA come to where it is now?
We in GAWA share an amazing deep passion for all things health and wellness and before GAWA was created, as a routine, we’d attend conferences on the subject to bond and get the newest wellness tips to try out.
It was at one of these events where we found a gap in which GAWA fitted perfectly.
In middle of a panel discussion, I turned around to our now Creative Director and whispered in disbelief “Is it me, or have you noticed all these tips and tricks have only mentioned cis-gender straight women? Have they not noticed all the other LGBTQ+ in this room?”
It was then that we realized that the wellness market overall lacked a direct conversation towards the queer community who are avid followers of these platforms, panels and brands.
Today I can say we’ve been heard, not just within our community, but by ally partners and brands who realize the importance of representation and want to close the gap between what we seek and what is offered.
GAWA is carving out and creating a community of those within the LBGTQ+ that seek self love and acceptance and speak to the natural and holistic living. How are you defining natural and holistic living?
“Natural and Holistic living” is a journey, and for the LGBTQ+ it is first a journey to self acceptance end self love. A journey that takes us to the path of self-acceptance and love in order to say out loud, we are good-as-we-are, in mind, in body and in spirit.
“Natural and Holistic living” is acknowledging that everything around us has the power to affect us, and that we can control its effects by taking care of your minds and bodies.
“Natural and Holistic living” is knowing that the road ahead is not easy. It’s knowing that it’s filled with struggles, pains and heartbreaks and that by our own willingness to continue we will arrive to a true wholesome happiness.
What are the toxic or harmful lifestyle behaviors that you observe and witness peers engaging in that you'd wish they'd trade for an investment in their own wellness?
The hard truth is that LGBTQ+ people are at a higher risk of engaging in negative health-behaviors, experiencing metal health conditions, suicidal attempt as well as detrimental daily victimization. This more often than not, manifest in substance abuse and societal destructive behavior.
A big part of this comes with the complexity of our coming-out process, we face a bigger challenge when it comes to choosing a healthier path.
It is for this reason that GAWA wants to facilitate a much needed support for our community to choose and keep a healthy life.
We know nothing is scarier than the first steps towards changing an unhealthy-lifestyle into a healthy one and no-one should go through it alone.
GAWA has promised to encourage wellness and fitness brands to speak relevantly and directly to the LBGTQ+ community. Do you feel the LBGTQ+ community is being ignored?
Yes. There is a lack of visibility and representation of LGBTQ+ people by wellness and fitness brands, be it in communication or product development.
It is great when June (Pride Month) comes and brands show their ally-ship and support for the community, but is when it is not June that our community truly notices the lack of conversation.
The Well+Good(s), Goop(s), and Health Magazine(s) of the world have all been catered primarily to the straight cis female/male wellness consumer and we have to make a change.
We want to inspire and parter with these brands to show the power of having deep and true representation for the LGBTQ+ people all year round.
As a member of your audience, what can I expect to consume and rely on from you as my partner-in-health?
As an imperfect gay man, still in its early stages of what is becoming not just a wellness journey but a life journey as well, I promise as its Editor in Chief to guide GAWAs content towards the LGBTQ+ holistic life we all seek.
Our goal is to become a platform and an amplifier for all LGBTQ+ health and wellness journeys of those using their influence to make our community beautifully healthy.
And with a beautifully diverse team who seeks to be good and do good stewarding this brand you can expect nothing else than the truest content.
Our Creative Director is a true ally in the fitness space walking the walk and our Art Director is the most talented lesbian wellness-enthusiast using her design to affect change.
We are in your corner and we will be supporting you throughout your wellness journey the ups and downs, the rough patches and count us in on each worth celebrating moment, no matter how small.
Okay, so GAWA is the brand, but GAWA is also you. What's your story? What is your wellness routine?
Not long ago I was an overweighted, depressed, closeted gay man who had the daily routine of poisoning his body and mind with hurtful thoughts and unhealthy habits which I used to numb the pain away. Gasp, right?
I was on a clear road of self-destruction and it wasn’t until I found my way into Health and Wellness (which back then was just called dieting and exercising) that I managed to truly-save my life. Every step of the way has been worth it, I feel healthy, I feel well, I finally feel whole and you guessed right, I feel I can say to myself “I am good as I am”.
I managed to go through my wellness journey and arrive to where I am now because of fitness and wellness out influencers brave enough to share their stories and the brands that supported their paths.
Now, my wellness routine is not perfect and I know there is always room for improvement but one thing that for sure I never change is going to a fitness class 6 times a week.
Why classes you ask? Well besides working on my summer sexiness (ha), sweating out all the stress and pointless worries of the day and enjoy the muscle/fit parade of hotties around me.
I go because, I walk out a new person filled with the positive energy of the rockstars who I just workout with. When you are in a room with people that have the same self-imposed goals as you, even if you don’t engage in conversation, you connect to them at a deep energy level.
At one specific moment we all become a collective energy for a good change. To become someone better, to feel good within, to be proud of ourselves both physically and mentally.
I guess you can say it is my meditation/fitness routine to be around a like-minded positivity and energy I use to tackle on the rest of my day.
GAWA and Ricky are damn inspiring and we can wait to keep following them as they grow and are even more excited to join them for some fun in person later this summer. In the meantime engaged with GAWA on Instagram and Facebook and head to their event this Tuesday!