Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Arts and Culture: Rehab for a Specific Audience

By Courtney Nichols

Augusten Burroughs' second memoir, Dry, gives a brutal account of Gay AA meetings and the subsequent torture associated with not only being labeled as an alcoholic, but as a homosexual alcoholic.

Today, however, Gay AA meetings provide a comfortable forum for those intimidated by classic AA settings. Established with a sense of community, Gay AA follows the same 12 steps and bylaws as other AA meetings, yet draws upon the idea of similar people in similar backgrounds living with the same addiction. It�s common for neighborhoods in NYC to have at least one Gay AA center that caters to lesbians, homosexuals, transgendered individuals, transsexuals and anyone questioning their sexual orientation.

"This is not a place where we all hold hands and sing Cher," noted a weekly Gay AA member on The Lower East Side. "This is an arena for us to feel comfortable in our own skin so we can battle our problems thoroughly and effectively." Along with Gay AA meetings, AA also hosts specialty forums for those who are above 50, veterans, teenagers and other particular groups.

Recently, those serving the Gay AA community have established The Big Apple Roundup, which hosts various events around New York City, including Trailer Trash Drag Bingo at the NYC Lab School on March 31st. Further information on upcoming galas are scheduled to be released shortly.

The importance of Gay AA is not to single out those who are homosexual, but instead to make people aware that there are accessible locations that provide a safe environment to those who happen to be gay and alcoholics.

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