There is no subject where more alcoholics want to tell other alcoholics how you must recover than this one. I know there are men out there preying on vulnerable young women newcomers in our AA meetings and it falls upon the group conscience to act, but that's a separate subject. What people seem to be worried about is that people will not be able to control themselves, that they cannot talk intimately and decide how they are going to behave. I have had the privilege of sponsoring a large number of people over the last 28 years.
When I joined AA my first sponsor was a carbon copy of me, just sober for a few years more, because that was the only person I would listen to. I was attracted to my 2nd sponsor because of spirituality. I wanted this person who could teach me about spirituality. My 3rd and current sponsor I was attracted to because of the kindness that person exhibited with others and how that person prayed. I wanted to learn about kindness and prayer. Gender, sexual orientation, age were not my first concerns with sponsors 2 and 3 those things just were not important.
When I first started I thought I was different from everyone. AA has taught me that I am more the same than different. God has a wonderful sense of humor. I was judgemental and bigoted before AA and when I was about a year sober it seemed as though there was a line of gay men who would come up to me and ask me to sponsor them. Well I don't often say no, so I started sponsoring these guys when one day I was talking with my sponsor and I told him about someone new asking me to sponsor and we realized that I had not even noticed that he was very flamboyantly gay. That it did not matter to me anymore, AA had changed me. It was none of my business, I had no opinion. It was a miracle. Even though I would be talking to my sponsees about their sex life as a sponsor, I did not have to have an opinion about being gay, because I'm not, just do you treat people with love, respect and kindness.
I have sponsored a number of women, a few have been gay, a couple bi sexual and some have been straight. On the first meeting usually I have made a point of saying something like. "Some people have a problem with men sponsoring women and maybe it will be helpful to you as well. But right now I make a pledge to you to not make any physical advances towards you whatsoever. For as long as we know each other. Now that I am sober and in AA I can control myself and I can be kind and respectful."
It has been such an incredible growth and learning experience for me to interact with women intimatly, respectfully without having sex be involved. I have really joined the human race and I have friends from every catagory I would have excluded in the past or that some people would like to put in a seperate AA meeting.
I think the most important things involved in sponsorship are someone who has what you want (someone you can listen to) someone who is availible, the steps, prayer, a spiritual experience. If we are worried about gender for someone else it seems like it just divides us more and tells people we are more different then the same and I think that is harmful for everyone.