Cynthia Nixon has caused controversy by announcing in a recent interview that she believes her homosexuality “is a choice”.

In an interview with the New York Times, the Sex and the City actress appeared to defy the sentiments of Lady Gaga’s hit record, saying she doesn’t believe she was ‘born this way.’

She said: “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.’ They tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be a choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice.”

Nixon then acknowledges the contentious issue of using the word ‘choice’ and its potentially damaging effect: “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.”

She goes on to voice annoyance at the suggestion of ‘opting out’, but blames opposition to gay rights who have been allowed to “define the terms of the [gay rights] debate.”

Nixon, who is currently starring in a production of Wit on Broadway, with reference to the idea of suddenly realising she was gay, said: “I find it offensive to me, but I also find it offensive to all the men I’ve been out with.”

A mother of three, Nixon has been honoured for campaigning for gay rights, and has received a GLAAD award.

Before moving on to discuss her family life, she said “you don’t get to define my gayness for me”.

Nixon makes it clear in the interview that she is discussing her own sexuality, and not homosexuality in general, but has already come under fire from gay-rights advocators who have said that such statements cause damage to the fight for equal rights.

This is a sentiment shared by gay blogger John Aravosis, who wrote a blog entry suggesting that Nixon, who has had long term relationships with both men and women, is not gay, but bisexual. He wrote:

“When the religious right says it’s a choice, they mean you quite literally choose your sexual orientation, you can change it at will, and that’s bull.

“It’s not a “choice,” unless you consider my opting to date a guy with brown hair versus a guy with blonde hair a “choice.” It’s only a choice among flavours I already like. If you’re bisexual, you’re not gay, so please don’t tell people that gay people can “choose” their sexual orientation.”

Aravosis described Nixon’s statement as: “damaging to [the gay] civil rights effort” and speculated that “religious hatemongers” will use such statements to deny civil rights to gay people.

In 2010, Nixon attributed her self-definition as gay to her “political stance,” but said otherwise she might describe all women as bisexual.

On Nixon’s statement, the gay blogger, Perez Hilton, wrote:

“We totally hear her out and true, we cannot define her “gayness,” but it wasn’t a choice for us. We were BORN gay. And millions of gay people around the world feel the same way.”