Sex and The City star Cynthia Nixon earned respect from the gay community whens she came out in 2004, but in a recent interview with The New York Times she broke from the standard insistence that homosexuality is not a choice by claiming that her sexuality is not at all biological.
“I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line ‘I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better.’ And they tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be a choice. And for me, it is 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.”
Nixon drew criticism when she first announced her relationship with her partner Christine Marinoni because of her late in life switch-up. Should it matter that Nixon has chosen to have a relationship with a woman after numerous serious relationships with men? She says no.
“Why can’t it be a choice? Why is that any less legitimate? It seems we’re just ceding this point to bigots who are demanding it, and I don’t think that they should define the terms of the debate. I also feel like people think I was walking around in a cloud and didn’t realize I was gay, which I find really offensive. I find it offensive to me, but I also find it offensive to all the men I’ve been out with.”
Cynthia Nixon hits on something here that has always puzzled me: why is it necessary for homosexuality to be innate for it to be considered “ok”? As a liberal, I generally think that folks should be allowed to live whatever lifestyle they’d like to live as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Yet the main bone of contention between conservatives and the gay rights movement is whether gay people are born that way or have complete control over their lifestyles. Why?
I have to wonder…doesn’t insisting that sexuality is something no one can change imply that there’s a need for change in the first place and suggest “there is something wrong with us that we can’t do anything about”? It seems that, as Nixon implies, a prouder position would advocate for the acceptance of all people and freedom of choice for all. What difference does it make whether I choose to fall in love with a man or woman or simply can’t help myself? Aren’t I entitled to that choice?