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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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Comments

  1. So Cynthia should label herself as "bisexual", rather than gay? Really? That's funny, because when I've labelled myself as "bisexual" in conversations with gay men, I get either hostility, or eye-rolling accusations that I'm in denial. (Or at best, "What's that like?"/"How does that work?" questions that would irritate the hell out of gay men. Lesbians are a lot better about it.)

    Hey, so guess what -- I usually publicly identify as "gay" or "queer", too. If what I say about my sexuality f's up someone's short-sighted political strategy (based on outmoded, simplistic biology), the gay community deserves it. Many of you all can't deal with people self-identifying as bisexual, even allies who support you at every turn. Even people like me who have been in committed same-sex relationships for years. Now we call themselves gay, too -- enjoy the political consequences.

    Posted by: C | Jan 23, 2012 10:45:23 PM


  2. If she's attracted to both men & women I'd say she's a bisexual. I think she identifies as gay because she's with a woman now, plus she gets more publicity & more gay rights groups reaching out to her as some kind of spokesperson.

    Her statement seems a little self centered (surprise! she's an actress) as if she didn't care that this could have repercussions for people fighting for gay marriage. She has a right to her opinion of course. I just doubt her sincerity.

    She was obviously pissed off at whoever wanted her to take out that couple of lines & she made sure that she got that out there. She should realize not every changes their sexuality like they change their purse & should have spoken only for herself as a bisexual woman & not involve the gay community in her ramblings.

    Posted by: sara | Jan 23, 2012 10:50:45 PM


  3. "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."

    JESUS TAP-DANCING CHRIST!

    Posted by: Matthew | Jan 23, 2012 10:58:07 PM


  4. JESUS TAP-DANCING CHRIST!
    Lol

    Posted by: George M | Jan 23, 2012 11:03:23 PM


  5. WOW what a slap in the face of the gay community.

    Posted by: Silas | Jan 23, 2012 11:19:14 PM


  6. Actors. Gawd luv'em!

    Posted by: Kile Ozier | Jan 23, 2012 11:19:22 PM


  7. So she's bisexual. Big deal. Now she should go home to the other planet it looks like she came from. She might be normal there.

    Posted by: uffda | Jan 23, 2012 11:24:33 PM


  8. Oh gosh, just when we are making progress, we get stupid statements like hers. Geez!

    Sounds like she is BISEXUAL and she has made a choice to be with women. Like Ellen's ex, I guess she could go to a man.

    Honestly, people like Nixon should just no add anything to the conversation if she is hurting it like she is with her words.

    PS Like Sammy said at the top of this post, I have no idea what's she's talking about either.

    Posted by: FunMe | Jan 23, 2012 11:30:15 PM


  9. I hope Ms. Nixon will grow some ovaries and proudly come out as the bisexual she clearly is. Sexual orientation is a matter of expression or repression and she clearly has been all over the map.

    Posted by: Elangay | Jan 23, 2012 11:32:25 PM


  10. "If it was 100% a choice yes it would end the marriage fight because we have the right to get married now..."

    No, it definitely wouldn't be over. Loving v Virginia wasn't resolved with Mr. Loving deciding that he could just find a white woman to marry. His spouse was black just like my spouse is male. (That is "who he is," regardless of whether I "could have found someone else" or not.
    It's an issue of freedom and of the government not overreaching into people's personal lives.
    And even putting the sexual orientation issue aside, DOMA is sexist discrimination, just as it is race discrimination when the government tells someone it will deny his spouse rights because it doesn't approve of the couple's race makeup.

    Posted by: GregV | Jan 23, 2012 11:35:18 PM


  11. Why didn't she just say she's bisexual and is in love with a woman? Bisexuals are attracted to both sex's so she fell in love with a woman. Do bisexuals call them selves gay when in a same sex relationship and str8 when with someone of the opposite sex? Being real is that tru?

    Posted by: George M | Jan 23, 2012 11:40:39 PM


  12. I'm kind of confused by what she's saying as well. If she continues to have feelings for both men and women then she's bisexual.
    For her the choice is being in a committed relationship with a woman, correct? Or is she saying that she literally stripped herself of the capacity to be aroused by men through sheer will alone, thus becoming a lesbian?
    Or are we changing the term "lesbian" to be more inline with straight porn now?

    Posted by: Hugh | Jan 23, 2012 11:40:59 PM


  13. I'm with C here, and this is why I typically identify as a queer woman. My own experience of sexual orientation is not as cut-and-dried as any of the three apparently acceptable pigeonholes. I've never "faked" anything, regardless of gender, but I am unable to form emotionally satisfying relationships with men, and because I value relationships exponentially more than sex I am only interested in women on an intimate level. I've been in a committed relationship with another woman for fifteen years, and given that I live in the small town deep south surrounded more or less exclusively by straight people who don't follow terminology enough to deal with the word "queer" without long, pointless explanations, I just code-shift to calling myself a "lesbian". It's just a lot easier in casual conversation.

    But, anyway, I do realize that for most men there is no choice, I think Jason's characterizations of the fluidity of women's sexuality are unfair at best. It may all be simply black and white for you, but Cynthia Nixon makes it clear here she is only speaking for herself. I would humbly suggest you consider doing likewise, as I think we all should.

    Posted by: Shelly | Jan 23, 2012 11:41:38 PM


  14. @C: Most open-minded and well-educated people understand the difference between gay, straight and bi and don't get confused by it.
    You're going to run into some ignorant and closed-minded people of every stripe, and that doesn't exclude gay people. A lot of them have simplistic notions of sexuality that started in the school yard where they were learning most of what they "knew" about sex and sexuality.
    But if you choose to react to ignorant people by lying about your own orientation (telling them you're gay rather than bi to make it easier for their simple minds to grasp), then you can't blame anyone but yourself if they remain ignorant.

    Posted by: GregV | Jan 23, 2012 11:45:34 PM


  15. Until she apologizes for her ignorant and dangerous remarks, which helps set back the progress we've made...BOYCOTT her. Who do you think watched Sex and the City all those years and have gone to see you in the theater. Get a CLUE !!! The L-G-B (that's you honey)-T community. You didn't choose...you're BISEXUAL !!! DUUUUHH.... APOLOGIZE GIRL.....UNTIL THEN: WE BOYCOTT !!!!

    Posted by: anthony | Jan 23, 2012 11:47:36 PM


  16. My point was that the argument against us is that we want special rights because we choose to be gay and can change. At least from the anti gay side. If its about governments not determining marriage then why not write the law to say marriage is... And leave it blank. Let everyone decide what it looks like for themselves.

    Posted by: George M | Jan 23, 2012 11:55:04 PM


  17. She's only speaking for herself? Tell that to the gay kid who's parents hear that its a choice and push him even deeper into therapy, convinced ex-gay therapy works because, you know, its a choice. Anyone who has ever had to deal with the ramifications of it being a "choice" knows exactly how damaging her statements are going to be.

    Sorry but she can go f*ck herself and her choice.

    Posted by: Michael | Jan 24, 2012 12:10:03 AM


  18. Well past her use-by-date. Just go away you stupid, stupid woman.

    Posted by: Molc | Jan 24, 2012 12:21:59 AM


  19. She says it's insulting to the men she's had relationships with when people accuse her of not realizing she was gay.

    I'd say it's way more insulting to say that you now have a sexual orientation that by definition precludes you from being aroused by the opposite sex...and that you got there willingly.

    If you're bisexual, then just say so, it really isn't that complicated.
    But calling yourself a lesbian is an insult to actual lesbians who, let's face it, have enough bullsh*t to deal with from decades of straight porn, and Katy Perry.

    Posted by: Hugh | Jan 24, 2012 12:22:26 AM


  20. OR, Cynthia . . . . OOOOORRRRRR you may just be BISEXUAL.

    Jesus Christ. The only "gay" people I've EVER known who have ever had the severe misconception that being gay "is a choice" are bisexual men and women who just assume that everyone else who is gay chose to pursue that sex like they did.

    Honestly, Cynthia? I see what you are saying about empowering our enemies- but that's not what is really happening here! BEING GAY IS NOT A CHOICE, CYNTHIA. Being bisexual and choosing to pursue the gay aspect of yourself is.

    I spent my entire youth desperately attempting to force some form of attraction to women. There was nothing. It was literally impossible. If everyone had that choice I could have played both sides. Straight people could do the same. But we don't. We can't. We literally cannot.

    I just don't get how these bisexuals can have their heads so far up their asses. Saying being gay is a choice because THEY had an attraction to both men and women and simply went with one over the other? How do they NOT see what that really is? It is a bisexual choosing to round up to gay after some time experimenting.

    And this is fine. If a bisexual person wants to be called gay because that is the aspect of their broad sexual spectrum they are self-restricting themselves to then more power to them. But don't they DARE make the statement of "being gay is a choice." Even when it's preceded by "for me"- unless THAT is preceded by "as a naturally bisexual person . . . "

    It's just giving assholes like Santorum fuel for his raging hate-on against the GLBT community.

    Posted by: AedanCRobert | Jan 24, 2012 12:35:54 AM


  21. She lost a fan here. So she's freaking bisexual. You couldn't PAY ME to go see her in this show now.

    Posted by: Cal | Jan 24, 2012 12:37:15 AM


  22. Hey Jason:

    Misogyny? Thou dost protest (girl!) too much.

    Posted by: Sage | Jan 24, 2012 12:55:13 AM


  23. I knew I didn't like her

    Posted by: vtwelve | Jan 24, 2012 1:08:08 AM


  24. Thanks Cynthis - big help!

    Posted by: Paul | Jan 24, 2012 1:10:41 AM


  25. Thanks for setting us back Cynthia...and just when i was ready to like you for being an open lesbian. Ugh.

    It's not a choice....sexuality just 'is'. It is innate. If you're choosey...you're bi.

    Posted by: Geoff M | Jan 24, 2012 1:39:24 AM


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