Cynthia Nixon had some people scratching their heads—and others lighting their pitchforks when she explained to a New York Times reporter that for her, being gay was “a choice.”
I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me. A certain section of our community is very concerned that it not be seen as a choice, because if it’s a choice, then we could opt out. I say it doesn’t matter if we flew here or we swam here, it matters that we are here and we are one group and let us stop trying to make a litmus test for who is considered gay and who is not.
The blogosphere went wild, some claiming Nixon, now starring on Broadway in Wit, was giving fodder to homophobes who thing sexuality is something you can just change like a light bulb.
In an interview yesterday with The Daily Beast’s Kevin Sessums, Nixon clarified her stance and told the haters to back off:
Look, I understand for political reasons why some people want to kind of squelch this idea that being gay might be a choice, because a lot of the rights we want are posited on the supposition that why are you denying me my rights any more than if I were created a different color? But I don’t feel the need to cede the definition of what a gay person is to the bigots. They don’t get to define who I am.
She also explained why she doesn’t just identify as bisexual:
I don’t pull out the “bisexual” word because nobody likes the bisexuals. Everybody likes to dump on the bisexuals…. I just don’t like to pull out that word. But I do completely feel that when I was in relationships with men, I was in love and in lust with those men. And then I met Christine and I fell in love and lust with her. I am completely the same person and I was not walking around in some kind of fog. I just responded to the people in front of me the way I truly felt.
We get where Nixon is coming from—we should be treated equally regardless of whether our sexual orientation is a choice or hard-wired—but why dump on bi folks? How about using that spotlight to stick up for your AC/DC brethren and sisteren? (Is that a word? It is now.)
Regardless of how whether you think her words have damaged the community or not, there’s no denying Nixon has been a staunch advocate for LGBT equality. So maybe she’s earned the right to say her sexuality is a choice—for her.
At any rate. her performance in Wit is to die for (no pun intended). If you’re in New York while its still playing, do yourself a favor and check it out.
Photo: Joan Marcus