Cynthia Nixon | News

Cynthia Nixon: For Me, Being Gay is a Choice

In an interview about her new Broadway show, a revival of the Margaret Edson play Wit, Cynthia Nixon tells the NYT's Alex Witchel that for her being gay is a choice, and nobody's going to take that belief from her:

Wit“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. As you can tell, I am very annoyed about this issue. 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.”

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  1. Completely agree! People are allowed to choose their religion and we aren't supposed to persecute them-- but when it comes to this we usually only see it as choice = bad, intrinsic = good. I'm glad she's speaking up about this issue. It shouldn't matter one way or the other.

    Posted by: JD | Jan 23, 2012 6:13:06 PM

  2. I have no idea what she's talking about.

    Posted by: Sammy | Jan 23, 2012 6:17:02 PM

  3. the same discussion could be had around the word "lifestyle". being openly gay is a lifestyle, simply being homosexual is not. most importantly: being repressed and/or closeted is a choice.

    Posted by: shane | Jan 23, 2012 6:17:49 PM

  4. this is ridiculous. it's not a choice. maybe it's a choice for nixon because she is a woman, who in all reality just has to lay there in any sort of sexual situation. men on the other hand, or maybe me personally speaking, feels no sexual attraction to women whatsoever and therefore can not DECIDE to have a sexual encounter with a woman. maybe if i was a woman, i could just lay there. her comments are ridiculous - as i'm sure some of you may find mine.

    Posted by: adam | Jan 23, 2012 6:18:32 PM

  5. Eh, makes you sound kinda crazy but whatever. So you know how you are a public figure? As such I would rather not hear about ANYTHING faith related. I mean, I don't see why anything you think and believe personally needs to be shared with everyone.

    Also, nobody needs to consider the haters, they will just make stuff up anyway.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Jan 23, 2012 6:21:00 PM

  6. Everyone knows women don't count when it comes to concrete sexuality. They're always changing teams. ALWAYS. I don't think that has anything to with choice, but what is preferred at that moment to meet personal needs.
    I have yet to meet men who say their sexuality is a choice. Unless they are ex-gay devils.

    Posted by: MattCA181 | Jan 23, 2012 6:21:07 PM

  7. I never comment on articles, but I'm making an exception to point out the stupidity of what she has said. It's like saying that I can make myself genuinely believe I can fly. Beliefs and attractions are not choices, they're more like consequences.

    You can choose whether to act on your feelings or not, but you can't actually choose who you're attracted to. If she thinks she can, she might be delusional.

    Posted by: JS | Jan 23, 2012 6:22:09 PM

  8. She is bisexual and needs attention evidently. Nothing new here.

    Posted by: Rick | Jan 23, 2012 6:22:36 PM

  9. I couldn't agree with her more.

    Posted by: chad | Jan 23, 2012 6:23:47 PM

  10. Well said, Cynthia.....I think

    Nobody actually chooses their basic sexual orientation, but that orientation involves some degree of bisexual attraction for most of the population, albeit with a stronger attraction to one gender than the other.

    Of course, your statement could be interpreted could mean that you chose lesbianism out of an aversion to men and as a means of embracing feminism, in which case that is a whole other ball of wax....and if that is what you meant, I not only take back the "well said" comment but would not consider you part of my "community" in any way, shape, or form......

    Posted by: Rick | Jan 23, 2012 6:25:30 PM

  11. P.S. That first comment from "Rick" was not posted by me, the real Rick. Maybe he does not know that someone else already has that name on this site.

    Posted by: Rick | Jan 23, 2012 6:27:43 PM

  12. I wonder if she unexpectedly fell in love with a woman and finds herself attracted to that *ONE* woman.

    maybe that is what she means...? ::trying to understand::

    Posted by: Sandy in Ohio | Jan 23, 2012 6:29:44 PM

  13. If Nixon is attracted to both men and women, as she says, then she is bisexual. Choosing intimate relationships with women doesn't make her gay or lesbian. Orientation is never a choice.

    Posted by: S.C. | Jan 23, 2012 6:31:33 PM

  14. She is right that her being gay is what it is to her and if it was a choice for her then that is legitimate. But she does not live in a political vacuum and what she has said is very damaging to the "cause" as it were. For some people there is no choice in who they can love. Trust an egomaniacal lesbian actress to only see these things as they pertain to her. I remember in the 80s lesbians complaining that they weren't getting enough attention during the AIDS crisis and their risk was as great if not greater than that of gay males. In any event, she should shut her stupid f**king mouth and too bad if she's annoyed by the issue. I can guaranty that for her bull dike of a wife there was no choice.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Jan 23, 2012 6:32:50 PM

  15. I'm with JD on this.

    The downside of "Born this way" is regardness gayness as a curse or a deformity. Phobes always pseudo-ask "Is it a choice?" without ever considering that "choice" applies to them too.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jan 23, 2012 6:33:52 PM

  16. I consider myself real. Just was posting a comment. Did not see any "special" instructions to do so.

    Posted by: Rick | Jan 23, 2012 6:35:39 PM

  17. Bisexuality is indeed a reality. And so for "them" being gay or straight is a choice. But don't call your self gay and say it is because you choose to be gay.

    I have slept with a few women in my life. But I never fell head over heels in love with them and I know I could not. It was just sex.

    I do fall head over heels with men, and that is possible without having sex with them at all.

    This woman is confused and like a lot of straight homophobes, she doesn't seem to understand the difference between sex and the true feelings from the heart and soul.

    And if she is capable of having the true feelings of love for either sex, she is not gay or lesbian, she is bisexual.

    Posted by: Steve Pardue | Jan 23, 2012 6:36:00 PM

  18. As long as she's not telling me that my gayness is a choice, I have no problem with what she's saying.

    Posted by: Marco | Jan 23, 2012 6:36:17 PM

  19. Bravo for her. If asked by a straight person if being gay is a choice, I always wonder whether to first say, "When did you choose to be straight?" or go right to "So what if it is?"

    I understand the importance of making sure the phobic world understands the basics of how this is not a choice (say, for 99% of people), but really believe it's a false argument. My rights should not be dependent upon whether my selection of a same-gender partner is a choice.

    And for me, it is somewhat. I'm bisexual, and I've chosen female partners in the past. If I choose to marry a male partner, I demand my freedom to do so.

    Posted by: Zlick | Jan 23, 2012 6:37:21 PM

  20. Despite all the good things one could say about her, this just proves she has her head up her ass, and needs to have B-I-S-E-X-U-A-L spelled out in her hand like W-A-T-E-R to Helen Keller. Sex PARTNERS are a choice NOT attraction to them. But she does have some kind of Constitutional right to say stupid things—just as we do to say that they are.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jan 23, 2012 6:37:44 PM

  21. Sorry, she's bi, not gay. If she were actually gay, she wouldn't have a choice available.

    Posted by: LiamB | Jan 23, 2012 6:40:12 PM

  22. "She is right that her being gay is what it is to her and if it was a choice for her then that is legitimate. But she does not live in a political vacuum and what she has said is very damaging to the "cause" as it were"

    And this is where most of you are so severely misguided. Your attempts to force everyone into a black/white gay-or-straight-with-no-in-between is an outmoded and defensive position that was/is a reaction to the societal view that homosexuality is "wrong" and "immoral". It is as though you are apologizing for your bad behavior by implying "Hey, if I had a choice, of course, I would choose to be heterosexuality"

    Wake up, folks. It is the 21st century, not 1970. Sexual barriers are falling and the result will be greater freedom for everyone to explore, experiment, and find their exact optimal preference on the spectrum. Men are shedding their homophobia, not because they buy your arguments, but because they are tired of living in sexual and emotional boxes that tie them exclusively to women--in other words, for precisely the opposite reason you imagine them to be.

    But most of you are so enmeshed in the "gay ghetto" and its doctrinaire backwardsness that you are missing the boat altogether and have indeed become an obstacle to change rather than an agent for it.

    Posted by: Rick | Jan 23, 2012 6:40:57 PM

  23. I think this is just a word "choice" issue. I mean if she thinks it is a choice because she can select who she is attracted to, then fine. Not everyone who is gay chooses to act on it I suppose. Her point seems very small and defensive. It misses the larger point and to an extent limits being gay to sexual choices someone makes. I think there's more to being gay than that, but I can't say I really care much what she says about her sexuality and I'm sure it has no effect on mine.

    Posted by: Matt | Jan 23, 2012 6:43:45 PM

  24. Cynthia Nixon appears to be a woman who has used her sexuality as a marketing ploy. This is what women do. Women can do this because they don't need to be aroused in order to have sex with a man. She can fake it, basically. Therefore, a woman's sexual interplay with a man does not always reflect the fact that she is sexually interested - or indeed, oriented - towards him.

    The biological basis for this cannot be challenged. Therefore, don't accuse me of misogyny. If you want to blame somebody, blame Mother Nature.

    Therefore, I think what this illustrates is that women are not good spokespeople for sexuality in its honest, most purest form. Only a man is capable of being the best spokesperson. A woman cannot separate her ability to fake from her sexual self-perception. She thinks her ability to fake is an innate part of her sexuality when in fact it is a choice permitted by biology.

    Posted by: jason | Jan 23, 2012 6:44:33 PM

  25. oh cynthia, you so funny!!

    Posted by: Pahima | Jan 23, 2012 6:48:22 PM

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