Attendees: Amy, Amba, Amy, Andria, Ann, Anna, Deborah, Debra, Dianne, diani, Doreen, Erika, hayden, Jessica, Kara, Karen, Kate, Kaya, Lara, Laurel, Lisa, Nadine, Octavia, Shari, Sharon, Shdiva (sorry if we missed someone, there were so many people there!)
Many agreed that the meeting had too many topics:
One thing that happened is that there were a number of people at the meeting that didn't know about the various topics to be discussed; there were people at the meeting for "fun and social" reasons and those that wanted to be apart of defining and/or redefining femme posse. This created some understood concern at various points as all sides wanted to be heard and respected, etc.
Another thing that happened was that we started discussing #2 and there were a number of different perspectives - all that were articulated with passion and intelligence and it became clear this was a larger discussion than this meeting could handle.
Within this discussion a number of things were brought up, but in particular, Shdiva's desire to start a new group that she thought would add to, not detract from the femme posse illuminated the following concerns that many members of the group wanted to address:
femme posse members in the past and present having hurt feelings regarding various incidents including, but not limited to the running of the group, certain events and possible interpersonal dynamics.
past & current femme posse members feeling personally hurt or otherwise slighted by Shdiva's desire to start a new group. Ie: some people felt that Shdiva's description of the purpose and values of the group were exactly what the femme posse's group embodied.
There were two clear paths in which various members wished to address the above concerns.
Path #1: Healing. Erika was passionate about us needing to take the time and heal any past hurts before moving forward into clarifying, defining and structuring the femme posse. She suggested a "healing retreat" separate from regular monthly meetings held at a neutral location so people can leave any "stuff" there and not at a members house. Andria agreed to take on a leadership role to help organize a retreat.
Path #2: Structuring the Femme Posse for sustainability and growth (aka: Femme Posse Vision & Structure Process). Andria also agreed to coordinate and organize a group process that will help us to create the femme posse we all want to be a part of. This will also be held outside of monthly group meetings. Some of the main concerns voiced were:
being sure that people felt welcome and accepted in the group for who they are as a femme.
creating space for people to share their feelings with the group.
creating a supportive and open space where people can be heard and their unique ideas can be considered.
structuring the group so that it can handle expansion.
creating some clarity around meetings, femme posse mission and values so that new members are clear what the group stands for, how it is run, what to expect in a meeting, etc.
It was agreed that the Vision & Structure Meetings would happen after the healing event/s are to take place. The plans are for 2-3 meetings to take place, so that as many people as possible can be a part of the process. We will also be sending out questionaires to this list for people to fill out that you may be able to reply by email or bring them to a future meeting. More information about dates on the healing meetings will be forthcoming.
As the group is currently in somewhat of a transition, the group asked if Amy & Debra were willing to stay on as Femme Posse leaders until these issues are resolved. They both agreed. In addition, Erika stepped forward to act as the 3rd leader, since RaeAnn has been unable to participate lately. A number of women requested that the meeting notes be again posted on the website, so that those who could not attend could still stay up with what was going on at the Posse meetings.
It seemed to be agreed by most present that the monthly FP meetings would be social and fun and that business and other "special event' meetings would be held at other times. This will be one of the things that is clarified through the Vision & Structure Process. We all agreed to limit the business talk to a minimum and keep the monthly meetings more fun and social.
After all this business talk, we talked about dressing our body types and there was quite a bit of lively talk about this. Lots of self-confidence raising perspectives, great tips on where to shop from a number of women. Unfortunately we ran out of time, and were unable to show the film at the meeting. We'll attempt to do so at the June meeting. (By the way, "Ftf - Female to Femme" will be showing at the San Francisco International GLBT film festival the end of June!)
There was ten tons of great food (gotta love women's groups), lots of connecting and sharing, meeting new people and hanging out with friends. We had the largest attendance of any meeting in a few years!