The second townhall in the series is scheduled for August 28th at 12:00PM ET (USA) - details can be found here


“Only” Meetings Town Hall #1 Summary

This was the first in a series of town halls to launch a Fellowship-wide discussion; 133 members attended and 32 shared. The goal of holding these town halls and asking for a Fellowship-wide discussion is to provide guidance to the WSO Board of Trustees for developing a Traditions-based policy for meetings listed on (or removed from) the website. Groups, Intergroups, and Regions are also being asked to discuss this important issue.


Statement of Purpose for Town Hall Meeting #1:

Concerns about “only” meetings and their implications, how “only” meetings relate to safety, versus issues of exclusion.

Should these meetings be listed on the WSO directory?

Session 1: What do we know about our members’ (and newcomers’) needs, wants and preferences that relate to “only” meetings being listed on the WSO registered meeting list?

  • How important is it?
  • Is it what our current members want?
  • How will it affect newcomers?
  • What purpose would this serve?
  • Is it necessary?
  • Is it helpful?


General Summary

The majority believe that focus-specific meetings are critical and necessary to create safe space where people can both explore the traumas they experienced as members of an oppressed group, and to do it in a space where they are not at risk of being exposed to further trauma from people who do not identify in the same way.  A further benefit is that creating these spaces draws a larger fellowship by creating a space that speaks directly to more people and tells them that ACA values them.  Additionally, it evolves us away from a white, male-centric doctrine that was created in a time where difference and inclusion were neither prevalent nor valued.

Generally, most stated that, while focus-specific meetings are valuable, they should not turn away an ACA person in distress, whether a newcomer or not, unless an alternative, more appropriate meeting could be found for the person.  Likewise, it seemed generally that people were not in favor of gatekeeping (either asking overtly, or using video, to confirm an identity); rather, most were in favor of self-identification. Rather than gatekeeping, two comments stated that it is the moderator's/group conscience responsibility to practice meeting safety practices and remove anyone behaving inappropriately.

It was stated as a terminology issue four times, but while not everyone overtly stated it that way, the language that many used was not the word "only," but something less exclusionary, like "focused", "affinity", the title without the word only, e.g., LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, women, men, etc.


Link to Full Summary

Link to Initial Notice and Background Information