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September 1994

PO Box 1980

Open to all?

At our weekly meeting this morning, I once again heard the word "faggot." Although I don't believe the speaker used it in a hateful way, it nevertheless made me feel very uncomfortable. We are told again and again by longtime members of AA that our Fellowship is open to all, that the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. We are told that there is no prejudice in AA, that all recovering alcoholics are welcome, regardless of sex, race, creed, or national origin. So in the rooms we seldom, if ever, hear racial, ethnic, or religious slurs.

I am most concerned for the gay newcomer, who might, upon hearing something like this, decide that AA isn't really for him after all. Some members have said that there is no need for "special interest" groups, that AA is AA, period. But if gay people are to be considered fair game for humorless jokes and name calling, the need for separate groups can only grow. As gays, and as alcoholics, we have all suffered enough humiliation from those in the "outside" world. I had hoped we wouldn't find it in the rooms of AA.

To me, nothing is more obscene than to hear another alcoholic belittled in the very rooms where we all gather to gain strength, hope, and encouragement. We are, after all, alcoholics first. So please, think before you speak. Every one of us, each in his own way, has something important to give to the Fellowship of AA.

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