Making OLGA welcome to all

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benek
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Making OLGA welcome to all

By and large I have found OLGA to be a welcoming environment for LGBT people. When I first started exploring the site, I wasn't sure that I would. Having spent years in the gaming environment where the most offensive speech possible is a matter of routine, I did not have high expectations of tolerance within a community of ex-gamers. I also encountered a few posts, comments, etc, that raised questions.

In order to allay such misgivings in potential future members, and make the community appear as welcoming as possible, I'd suggest that the OLGA website edit a couple of the "official" materials, taking into consideration the possibility that the intended audience is not entirely heterosexual:

There is a question in the diagnostic test that asks, "Have you flirted with a member of the opposite sex in games..." To the best of my memory, I have not, but that is rather beside the point! I would suggest rewording this question as simply: Have you flirted with other players in games...

In the sponsorship forum, in the sticky for sponsorship guidelines, it is emphasised that a person should find a sponsor of the same gender "type." I absolutely appreciate the concern, a concern that most likely comes from lots of experience of undesirable romantic attachments and entanglements arising between sponsors and sponsees. For the majority of the OLGA community, it seems to me a reasonable guideline. However, the stipulation seems to ignore the question, what are LGBTs supposed to do? Should gay men seek out lesbians for sponsorhip only, and vice versa? That would be quite limiting to our recovery. And what about bisexuals? Should they go on a hike in the woods and pick out a tree to discuss their step work with? To remedy this oversight and clarify the guideline, I'd suggest a caveat be included in the suggestions, some kind of acknowledgement that for sexual minorities, and possibly some others, the guideline is not applicable.

I may come across some other red flags as I slowly meander my way through the forums, but I wanted to offer these suggestions to ensure that OLGA's intent to be welcoming to all members, including LGBT members, is communicated as clearly as possible.

lizwool
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Hello benek, Thank you for

Hello benek,

Thank you for your suggestions. I changed the item on IS OLGA FOR YOU.

Not sure how to word the sponsor ship item. Suggestions?

If you find other items, please let us know.

Thank you.

Liz

Liz Woolley

Andrew_Doan
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I think the question of

I think the question of sponsorship is difficult as the opposite sex can develop intense feelings towards a LGBT sponsor/sponsee which will be a strain on that recovery partnership as much as if the LGBT is in a recovery partnership with the same sex.

I recommend keeping the wording as is for sponsorship because it is nearly impossible to fit the needs for everyone. Perhaps recommend LGBT seek other LGBT of the opposite sex for sponsorship?

Andrew Doan MD PhD

My Videos: Internet gaming disorder is real & my story 

*The views expressed are of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the U.S. Navy or Department of Defense.

Scott
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"It is very important to

"It is very important to minimize the chance of romantic entanglements in a sponsorship. A general guideline is that men sponsor men and women sponsor women."

Are these two statements sufficient? Or should a third statement explicitly say, "LGBT people..."? I'm not sure how to finish that statement, except to say what's already been said: "...should minimize the chance of romantic entanglements in a sponsorship."

What you feed grows, and what you starve withers away.

dusty0
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I don't think you need more

I don't think you need more than that, Scott. I think it's crystal clear.

Melissa Evermore
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Maybe "It is important to

Maybe "It is important to ensure that your sponsor is physically unnatractive to you, and you to them?" lol.

I don't know that romantic entanglement is the issue so much as sympathising with gender roles?

Like, maybe "it's important to have an impartial relationship with your sponsor that doesn't involve gender dynamics or romantic feelings".

?

dan1
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Thank you, benek, for

Thank you, benek, for pointing these out, and Liz for changing the wording on the survey.

Scott's wording is nice. Here is a possible tweak:

It is very important to minimize the chance of romantic entanglements in a sponsorship. We strongly suggest that both sponsors and sponsees keep this in mind when deciding who to work with, and throughout the sponsorship process."

Does it do the job.

I am a recovering computer game and gambling addict. My recovery birthday: On May 6, 2012 I quit games and began working a program of recovery through OLGA No computer games or slot games for me since December 12, 2012. No solitaire games with real cards since June 2013.

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Or what Dan said.

Or what Dan said.

lizwool
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I like it, Jeff.

I like it, Jeff.

Liz Woolley

benek
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Thank you Liz for acting on

Thank you Liz for acting on my first suggestion, and being open to ideas about the second one. I've been racking my brains trying to come up with a rewording of the second point that is elegant and to the point, without sounding discouraging or exclusionary. I think Dan's suggestion accomplishes that.

lizwool
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I changed it.  How does it

I changed it. How does it look now?

Liz Woolley

benek
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That looks great :) Funny I

That looks great :)

Funny I wasn't even thinking about that thread in the first place, but this one:

http://www.olganon.org/?q=node/36191

I was thinking of how to de-emphasise the point in the last line, making the point that there are exceptions to this guideline.

lizwool
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Ok.  I changed that one,

Ok. I changed that one, too.

Liz Woolley

Scott
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I've seen many many

I've seen many many instances in AA where it needed to be made crystal clear to an egotistical male that he should not be trying to sponsor new women. And equally important to be made crystal clear to a new vulnerable woman that despite her fears of other women she should not be seeking a male sponsor.

I feel with certainty that it's not a good idea to stop making that 100% perfectly crystal clear with a very explicit statement.

What you feed grows, and what you starve withers away.

dusty0
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How about: Addicts are

How about: Addicts are egotistical. Newcomers are vulnerable. It is critical to choose a sponsor that you have little, if any, chance of forming a romantic connection. For many, this means that they find someone whose gender does not align with their serial preference.

It's awkward. I don't like it. Help?

hirshthg
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The addition doesn't

The addition doesn't discriminate against anyone, nor should we.

I think Olga should be open to all, as "people sponsor people". There is no need to worry abut sexual preferences as a universal rule. For some people even speaking to any member as they are to all members to problematic. That problem is outside the scope of what we deal with here, however you are encouraged to find the help you need wherever you can get it. Some members can interact with other members that they are attracted to and still function in this program.

Being the same age, having the same beliefs, living in the same time zone, living in the same country, having the same sexual preferences, having the same amount of kids, having the same amount of money, or the same level of education, having played the same games, or having lost the same amount of stuff to gaming, are all "stuff". The question arises are we willing to put our stuff behind us and change our lifes in this program or not?

None of my sponsors were or are Jewish, and I stayed with the my Religion, and they stayed with their Religion. Every Religion is compatible with recovery and some have even found that they were able to recover fast when working with an "outsider" to their own beliefs. My first sponsor was a male, and he ended up leaving this program. My second sponsor was a women. I have had lady sponsees who have worked this program with me as well. I think that at the end of the day olga members on this site would be better off spending less time worrying about their beliefs which didn't protect them from gaming in the first place, or who they like and don't like which is surly not going to heal them from their addiction nor did it ever help them in the past.

Older members need to put their program first and actually sponsor the newcomers who are walking in and asking for sponsors. I am sorry to be coming across as annoyed, however we are doing ourselves and the newcomers a disservice, by being distracted from our primary aim: to help the gamer who still suffers.

Benek, I thank you for bringing this valid issue up, however it is a shame that requests for sponsors get a total of a few "hang in there"s and this issue gets 15 replies in 48 hours.Hirshthg

leveling in steps, serenity, sponcys, sponsors, exercise, and sleep, (sanity has been downsized)
sober from all electronic games since 11/19/2010

benek
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For those who seem not to

For those who seem not to entirely understand:

Imagine coming to OLGA at that light bulb moment, believing that you'd finally found a place where you could get help, and you decided to get a sponsor. In the guidelines for sponsorship, it was advised that you should get a sponsor from the OPPOSITE sex, so as to avoid romantic complications. Imagine that this guideline was reinforced several times, by several people. What would you think? Some possibilities: WTF? Is this a GAY website? I guess I'm in the wrong place after all! Let's also imagine, if you can, that you'd been persecuted for being straight your entire life, on top of that.

How likely would it be for you to trust this organisation with your step work and recovery? Even if you were to do so, would you feel discouraged from finding a sponsor?

My understanding of the primary mission of OLGA is not to police gender roles, but to extend the possibility of recovery to the broadest possible population. It is with the aim of better fulfilling OLGA's primary mission that I made this post.

Scott, I understand your and others' concerns about why this guideline should be explicit. I have no doubt that the intent is to prevent problems, not cause them. However, when "general" guidelines are proposed in such a way that "general" is synonymous with "heterosexual," one effect is that the organisation as a whole can seem exclusionary.

I see two acceptable ways of dealing with this: expressing the guideline in gender neutral language, or expressing the guideline with a specific heterosexual recommendation along with a specific LGBT caveat. Either one is ok with me.

Gettingalife
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dan1 wrote: It is very
dan1 wrote:

It is very important to minimize the chance of romantic entanglements in a sponsorship. We strongly suggest that both sponsors and sponsees keep this in mind when deciding who to work with, and throughout the sponsorship process."

This works fine in my opinion.

Acceptance. When I am disturbed, it is because a person, place, thing, or situation is unacceptable to me. I find no serenity until I accept my life as being exactly the way it is meant to be. Nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.  Acknowledge the problem, but live the solution!

Scott
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Ben, yes  I understand

Ben, yes I understand everything you said and feel the same way. The sponsorship guideline definitely needs re-wording. I started out with this:

Scott wrote:

"It is very important to minimize the chance of romantic entanglements in a sponsorship. A general guideline is that men sponsor men and women sponsor women."

Are these two statements sufficient? Or should a third statement explicitly say, "LGBT people..."? I'm not sure how to finish that statement, except to say what's already been said: "...should minimize the chance of romantic entanglements in a sponsorship."

but it feels incomplete. I like what Dan wrote and that also feels incomplete. I was hoping that the people who've shown interest in this topic could come to something that feels complete before making the change on the webpages.

What you feed grows, and what you starve withers away.

operetta
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I like Dan's wording very

I like Dan's wording very much. I think it gets a lot of things right.

And also: what Hirsh said.

I get benek's concern about LGBTs coming here and feeling excluded, and I am at least as concerned about women (straight or LGBT) coming here, deciding to get a sponsor, and being told that this sponsor must be female even if there are no female sponsors willing and able to take on sponsees, and there are male sponsors who are. Whatever guidelines and recommendations are posted should take into account the actual situation we have here in this fellowship.

My own experience (after repeatedly trying and failing to find an OLGA woman who could take me through the steps) is that cross-gender sponsorship can certainly work under some circumstances, and that while it's best (for heterosexuals) that the sponsor be of the same gender, there are factors of greater importance, such as willingness and time to sponsor and what the sponsor him- or herself got out of the steps.

Again, I like Dan's wording because it warns of the potential dangers while allowing each person to evaluate them for themselves. Let's not exclude something that might work.

I think it also meets the gender-neutral requirement nicely.

"She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it)." --Lewis Carroll

drj
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dan1 wrote: It is very
dan1 wrote:

It is very important to minimize the chance of romantic entanglements in a sponsorship. We strongly suggest that both sponsors and sponsees keep this in mind when deciding who to work with, and throughout the sponsorship process."

I like that :-) It removes both gender and sexuality from the wording which could have made it a bit complicated.

Jon

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I am very interested in working with South-UK based clients facing the challenges of Internet addiction in any of its aspects - please PM me.

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I like this! so far, I think

I like this! so far, I think this is the best, most neutral yet clear wording.

dan1 wrote:

It is very important to minimize the chance of romantic entanglements in a sponsorship. We strongly suggest that both sponsors and sponsees keep this in mind when deciding who to work with, and throughout the sponsorship process."

hirshthg
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We should also add in

We should also add in "dramatic relationships".

leveling in steps, serenity, sponcys, sponsors, exercise, and sleep, (sanity has been downsized)
sober from all electronic games since 11/19/2010

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