Cynthia Nixon’s ‘Choice’ Angers LGBTQ Community, Should it?

January 24, 2012  |  

“Sex and the City’s” Cynthia Nixon has dealt a strong blow to the LGBTQ community with her comment about choosing to be gay—at least from their perspective.

She was recently profiled in The New York Times and she told the newspaper she rejects the skepticism from members of the gay community who find the fact that she wasn’t always a lesbian disingenuous. She told the publication.

“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.”

It didn’t take long for members of her community to fire back at her word choice, suggesting she’s falling into the right-wing trap, but if that’s Cynthia’s experience are they any more right to police her sexual orientation than heterosexuals who they say concern themselves with homosexuality far too often.

It’s interesting because one of the arguments you hear so often from the LGBTQ community—in addition to the stance that you are either born gay or straight—is the idea of sexual fluidity and that many people’s true sexual orientation fluctuates many times throughout their life. Cynthia’s midlife entrance into lesbianism illustrates that perfectly, yet she’s rejected by her very own.

I can definitely see how her statement flies in the face of one of the gay community’s biggest fights of being “born this way,” especially when it comes to gay women. Being a lesbian is often seen as more of a fad than being a gay male, particularly when the woman is more feminine or aesthetically appealing. Plus Anne Heche didn’t do the LGBTQ community any favors when she went from men to Ellen and back to men, but as Cynthia said, you don’t get to define her gayness for her. I think if the LGBTQ community wants to be able to define their sexuality to heterosexuals, they should let homosexuals do the same within their community.

What do you think about what Cynthia said? Does the gay community have a right to be upset?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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