Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City fame recently got flack because she implied that homosexuality is a choice for her.
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.
– Sex and the City veteran Cynthia Nixon to Alex Witchel in the New York Times on the response to her saying she chose to be gay.
Perhaps surprisingly to some, I support and agree with her. I can conceive that homosexuality MAY be a choice for her. She says that she has lived as a heterosexual AND as a homosexual. I believe that that’s actually called bisexuality. In other words, she is able to happily cross from one world into another. She weighed the pros and cons of each relationship and self-identity type and has made a selection of which one she prefers.
I don’t feel threatened at all by her statement. I lived for 10 years as a straight man. I also dated a man who claims he chose to be gay. Like me, he was once married, fathered 2 children and later began relationships with men and found those relationships to be more rewarding and satisfying both sexually and emotionally.
Where my story differs from this boyfriend of mine and from Nixon’s claim is that I don’t believe I chose to be gay. They did. I didn’t.
If you are so sure that I chose it, I expect a clear detailed explanation of when you chose to be straight and how tempting homosexuality was for you.
Even while I was married I felt uncomfortable in my straight skin. You see, I was pretending. I was deceiving myself more than anyone, because I believed the other lie… that it is always a choice.
It is not always a choice, nor is it never a choice.
I believe homosexuality is rarely a choice, but it can be a choice.
We are all individuals and keepers of our own life stories. Why should I not believe someone who tells their story like Nixon? It doesn’t automatically negate my story. I know that my living as a straight man didn’t make me straight any more than Heath Ledger’s performance in Brokeback Mountain made him gay. Pretending is not the same as being.
That something may be a choice doesn’t even negate its qualification for full rights and privileges. Religious affiliation is a choice (actually much less a choice than religious people claim in my opinion) but religious people still enjoy full rights in our society. Even if 99% of homosexuals choose it, how does that somehow disqualify the 1% who didn’t choose it from full equal protection under the law?
Of course, the entire “choice” argument is a non-sequitur in the argument against gay rights. It’s irrelevant. It distracts from the real issue of whether or not your own personal brand of religion should be legislated or not.
Let’s let everyone make their own life choices and tell our own life stories. We are not all the same.