After causing a storm of controversy this week when referring to being gay as a “choice” Cynthia Nixon seems to have reluctantly acknowledged that she is, in fact, bisexual.
Many critics of the celebrated film and theatre actor suggested that she was confusing being gay with being bi, and that her use of the word “choice” would undermine the battle for LGBT equality.
Shortly after shocking fans by revealing that she had shaved her head ahead of performing in a Broadway production of Wit, the 45-year-old addressed these criticisms in a Skype interview with Kevin Sessums of the Daily Beast.
With reference to her relationships with both men and women, Sessums asked if she was: “a lesbian in a heterosexual relationship? Or a heterosexual in a lesbian relationship?” to which Nixon replied:
“I think for gay people who feel 100 percent gay, it doesn’t make any sense. And for straight people who feel 100 percent straight, it doesn’t make any sense. I don’t pull out the ‘bisexual’ word because nobody likes the bisexuals. Everybody likes to dump on the bisexuals.”
When Sessums points out that bisexuality constitutes “the ‘B’ in LGBT,” Nixon replies: “I know. But we get no respect.”
The interviewer then suggests that her use of the word ‘we’ means that she identifies herself as bisexual, to which she replies:
“I just don’t like to pull out that word. But I do completely feel that when I was in relationships with men, I was in love and in lust with those men. And then I met Christine and I fell in love and lust with her. I am completely the same person and I was not walking around in some kind of fog. I just responded to the people in front of me the way I truly felt.”
She goes on to say:
“Look, I understand for political reasons why some people want to kind of squelch this idea that being gay might be a choice, because a lot of the rights we want are posited on the supposition that why are you denying me my rights any more than if I were created a different color? But I don’t feel the need to cede the definition of what a gay person is to the bigots. They don’t get to define who I am.”
Perez Hilton voiced his continuing problem with Nixon’s description of her own sexuality, and blogged:
“She certainly has the right to voice her opinion, and as we said before, we can’t define her “gayness”…but it still does concern us that she’s putting the notion that being gay is a choice out in the world.”
On the other side of the argument, actor Harvey Fierstein tweeted in the Sex and the City star’s defence, saying:
“Folks are jumping down CYNTHIA NIXON’S throat for saying that: A- She’s a lesbian by choice. B- She doesn’t like the bisexual designation. Would people please get a life and leave the lady alone? There is very little black and white when it comes to sexuality.”
He went on…
“Why are we being as intolerant as the bigots we despise? Let people experience their lives as they experience their lives. It’s none of your damn business! Whether we are born this way or not should not be the basis for our citizenship anymore than our religion.”
A mother of three, Nixon has been honoured for campaigning for gay rights, and has received a GLAAD award.
In the interview, Nixon also commented on her kids, their acceptance of her relationship with Christine Marinoni:
“My kids–and the kids they go to school with–are all living in a post-category world. It’s we older folks who are caught up in it.”