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Cynthia Nixon Clarifies: ‘Bisexuality is not a Choice, it is a Fact’

Cynthia Nixon Clarifies: ‘Bisexuality is not a Choice, it is a Fact’

 

Actress Cynthia Nixon, responding to criticism over comments she made to The New York Times Magazine saying that she chose to be in a gay relationship, has issued a statement clarifying that she believes being gay or bisexual is not a choice.

Nixon, in an exclusive statement released to The Advocate, says in part:

“I believe bisexuality is not a choice, it is a fact. What I have ‘chosen’ is to be in a gay relationship.

“As I said in the Times and will say again here, I do, however, believe that most members of our community — as well as the majority of heterosexuals — cannot and do not choose the gender of the persons with whom they seek to have intimate relationships because, unlike me, they are only attracted to one sex.

[Read the full statement here.]

As previously reported on Care2, Nixon, in reference to being in a same-sex relationship, told The New York TImes Magazine that:

“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,” Nixon said while recounting some of the flak gay rights activists previously had given her for treading in similar territory. “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.”

These comments immediately drew criticism from LGBT rights commentators who said that Nixon risked advancing the notion that being gay is a choice that everyone can make, and adding fuel to the fire over the “ex-gay” meme, that one can choose to change one’s sexuality.

Also raised was the issue of representation of bisexuality, and how Nixon initially seemed to shun the label of being bisexual.

Others defended Nixon’s point of view however, wondering whether it in fact matters if being gay is a choice.

I have been asked to write my personal opinion on this incident. Instead, I believe I will also demure to those useful things called facts.

First let me establish that it is not for me to say how Cynthia Nixon, or anyone else, should publicly identify. I can say, however, that the erasing of bisexual identity on the wider stage and within the LGBT community itself is a significant problem, so any discussion therein is significant.

I would also agree that Nixon, as a high-profiled celebrity, could have been more careful in how she chose to express this opinion because her words might have been used to suggest that gay people can change their sexual orientation, something that is not supported by scientific consensus.

That said, Nixon in fact appears to have been making a comment that for her, as a bisexual woman, she did have choice to be in a same-sex relationship — a reasonable assertion that perhaps was stated in a way that was, unfortunately, unclear.

So while maintaining that we do not have the right to tell Cynthia Nixon how she may identify herself and her experience of her sexuality, I maintain we do, and always have, had the right to point out the impartial facts that underpin our understanding, and in this regard they are rather clear:

Wherever one may sit on the spectrum of sexuality – gay, straight, bisexual, or some other label that better fits (or no label at all) – science tells us it is not a choice. This should be the definitive word until the facts, if they ever do, say otherwise.

Related Stories:

Kid Tells Bachmann: My Mommy is Gay, Doesn’t Need Fixing

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Erasing Bisexual Invisibility

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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to hsyuo.

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82 comments

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7:00PM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

@ Kimberlee W. Several points. Humans are monogamous do to tradition, not nature which accounts for the amount of infidelity and other factors such as separation & divorce. Truly monogamous relationships would be "till death do us part." Sexuality is not digital, it is analog going from homosexuality through various stages of bisexuality to heterosexuality. You comment about people claiming to be bisexual to excuse promiscuity is off base. Promiscuity occurs in all forms of sexuality & monogamy also occurs in all forms of sexuality. A bisexual can maintain a total relationship with one person, be it of either sex, for an entire adulthood, just as a heterosexual or homosexual can.

11:14AM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

William, while I can appreciate your comment to Ashley D., I still disagree with you in regards to Pam. (I still can't figure out what Alice was trying to say)

I think a lot of people like to say they're bi-sexual to excuse promiscuity, not that I'm speaking out against promiscuity.
I lived it and can attest that it's not a good way to be, especially when looked back upon after 25 yrs. But I will say again that sexuality IS either/or.
I believe humans, under the best conditions, ARE monogamous by nature, like wolves or eagles.
All else is BEHAVIOR.
I'm not condemning anyone; just trying to get people to be honest with themselves. This would be best for the movement.
If Ms. Nixon were to say she prefers the non-constraints of a "bi-sexual lifestyle", then I could support her.
Otherwise, she IS harming the movement with her pronouncements.

Stephanie D. wants for everyone to have a sexual free-4-all. At her age, I would have said the same. Age does count for experience however, and hindsight has been known to be 20/20!

10:18AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

@ Ashley D. If your friend was a true homosexual, he could not change to heterosexual, what your friend was, and still is, a bisexual. Many bis can appear to change from homo to hetero, since they are part of both. Being AC/DC I can act as either and have. homosexuals think I am homosexual, heterosexuals think I am heterosexual, I can "act" as either.

7:00AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

If being homosexual is a fact, it is a fact of choice. I know of one man who, from being a strong LGBT supporter, went on to give his life to the Lord and he has changed from what he once was.
I read an article by Patrick Muirhead two years ago who, twenty years after he 'came out', was suddenly feeling the appeal of the opposite sex. ('I want a wilfe to love and a child to protect' (Times, January 2010)) He himself is quoted as saying 'I wince when gays describe boyfriends as 'husbands' ', subverting a solemn institution creatred to provide stability for child-rearing.
So homosexuals and lesbians are not necessarily born to be so. My previous church supported the Living Waters Trust that helps homosexuals and lesbians change their ways.

5:39AM PST on Feb 3, 2012

@ Robyn

You and parents like you are my heros. You give me hope that someday in the future all parents, friends, relatives, co-workers, etc. will be open and loving no matter what sexual orientation your child is.

5:10PM PST on Feb 2, 2012

So what if it was a choice? I don't see how orientation being or not being a choice should influence people's right to engage in loving relationships.

1:42PM PST on Feb 2, 2012

I am the mother of six children, three boys and three girls. They are all adults now except for my youngest who is 14. The funny thing is while all three boys are straight, all three girls are bisexual. It is something that we actually joke about. All my kids are completely comfortable with their sexuality and the girls being bi and the boys being straight is really not an issue at all. In fact, in this family, it's the norm. It is through my kids that I learned that sexuality is just a part of the person that you are. All my kids are in happy healthy relationships and three of them are parents. My youngest who has just come out to us is also happy and well adjusted with lots of friends. Being gay, straight or bi does not matter, being the person who you are does.

9:46AM PST on Feb 2, 2012

Thanks for this article.

11:19PM PST on Feb 1, 2012

cont'd from below:

Irony is, many folks that are 'straight' are discovering 'bi-sexuality', and it is predominantly FEMALES who are very receptive and easygoing about it. Add to all this, is the fact Trans-Folks (of either gender, and of either sexes) have always known about the ability to peer over to either sexes as being very natural to like and love, as well as Intersex folks, too.

11:16PM PST on Feb 1, 2012

All the reasons why sexuality as being NOT a choice is antiquated as well as all the reasons why sexuality being a choice as being BAD is antiquated as well. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with choice of sexuality, nor wrong with flexibility of sexuality, it is a human physiologically neuroplastic natural reality. Yes, for some folks their sexuality has been negatively conditioned thus confined towards one preference, whereas others have discovered their sexuality has be positively free to be condition to be open towards other preferences AT WILL. No preference should be by coercion nor by social pressures to conform. We are free to like whomever we please, so long as it is adult, loving, mature, and responsible.
Get with it folks, this is the 21st Century, all this talk about 'choice' having negative connotations and 'innateness of lack of choice' (being born this way) being somehow 'a way out' is totally unnecessary. Religious grounds for making 'choice a sin' is totally unfounded and has never be clearcut in any 'Holy Scriptures'.
I am a Christian, and I do believe in choice, and Love, and being true to the message of Salvation that the 'bible' teaches us, not some bizarrely perpetuated hate that imposes some 'sinful' notion that loving anyone at consenting adult age is 'evil' just because they have the same or different anatomical sex parts is ridiculous. Wake up everyone!
Irony is, many folks that are 'straight' are discovering 'bi-sexuality', and it is predom

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