I heart Cynthia Nixon --- the Emmy and Tony winning actress, best known for playing the brainy Miranda in Sex and the City, has given great performances and been an articulate liberal activist, using her name for causes like arts education and breast cancer awareness, rather than say selling hair colour and Venus razors (yes I am talking to you Jennifer Lopez).
After a 15-yr heterosexual relationship, Nixon has been in a relationship with a woman since 2004.
Last week Nixon raised eyebrows with her comments in The New York Times Magazine when she told the writer that homosexuality for her “is a choice.” She refused to call herself a bisexual, though I gotta say that from over here she looks like "Exhibit A" of bisexuality.
“For many people it’s not (a choice),” she conceded, saying others “don’t get to define my gayness for me... Why can't it be a choice? Why is that any less legitimate?"
The predictable uproar in the gay press ensued. People said she had just handed a hammer to our opponents, who will now argue that what we need are incentives for people to change from being gay, not equal rights.
I was surprised and offended by her comments, because (1) I don't think it's a choice as I don't remember choosing to be gay --- or choosing to be male or white or devastatingly handsome, for that matter; and (2) comments like this play into the hands of haters like Michelle Bachmann and her non-gay husband, because if gay is a choice they will say that we can all choose to be straight.
As I read articles and blogs about Nixon's comments, I came to agree that while her critics have good reason to worry about how her words will be used, we have no right to demand silence or conformity from Nixon. She’s entitled to her own truth. But she also should be smarter and know that words have power, and that as one of the few "out" famous gay people, her words may have a lot of power. She should be more careful and be sure she means what she says to a reporter.
Since the publicity shit hit the fan this week, Nixon has come out with another statement, saying that though she doesn't like the word, she is a bisexual, and that being bisexual or gay is not a choice. She is bisexual and has chosen to be in a gay relationship. Back pedalling? Or just clarification? Hmmm...
Nixon has worked hard for the gay community, and she is entitled to say what she wants, and to revisit her controversial comments. No one gets to "define our gayness,” as Nixon said.
If gay was a choice, would discrimination be ok? As New York Times columnist Frank Bruni said this week, think of religion -- religion is a choice, and we don't tolerate discrimination. So bottom line is it shouldn't matter if is a choice or not. But then again, bigotry isn't rational.
I think if Nixon meant her original comments she should have stood by them, as she is entitled to do. If she didn't, then her comments were naive or absurd or just stupid, and if nothing else prove that she is better when has a script in hands and is not just winging it.
I did like her closing words though... “Our community is not a monolith, thank goodness, any more than America itself is. I look forward to and will continue to work toward the day when America recognizes all of us as full and equal citizens.”
Now let's go back to the level of conversation we should be having about celebrities... holy crap, Cynthia Nixon shaved her head for a new play!