Cynthia Nixon Saying She’s ‘Gay by Choice’ Is Bad for Her Broadway Career

cynthia nixon witIs anyone else here thinking maybe Cynthia Nixon isn't really gay? Like maybe she's bisexual, or gay-until-retirement, or gay-until-Ryan-Gosling-calls? In case you missed the collective "OH NO SHE DIDN'T" from the gay community, Cynthia said in an interview recently that homosexuality was, for her, a choice. And my first thought was, why would you say that right before appearing on Broadway?!? She's starring in a new production of Wit -- hence the bald head.

Cynthia's statement pissed off a lot of gay people, and not just because being gay is NOT a choice for most of them. Years of talking with gay friends over the years have taught me something important: language matters. Gay, queer, bi, whatever -- people have some pretty strong opinions about what those words all mean. And Cynthia could have been more sensitive with her language.

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Here's exactly what Cynthia said, just so we get her in context.

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.

Okay, she's right about this: She gets to define her sexuality whatever way she wants. But back when the empowerment-speech-naysayers tried to get her to change her speech, she could have paused a little and thought more about how her words might hurt other people.

Sex is weird. I mean, there's a continuum (the Kinsey Scale) and I believe Cynthia may have found herself on different places on the scale at different times of her life. I won't even go into that. I'm just thinking -- lady, you're on Broadway. That's an industry for, by, and about gay people!!! Okay, I exaggerate. A lot. But you get my point. Of all the communities to throw that provocative statement into, this is probably the most sensitive. Of course, plenty of gay people on Broadway probably couldn't care less what she says or thinks. Ultimately, what matters most is how well she does in Wit. But how much support and credit she gets on her Broadway run also matters -- and that's where this statement could bite her in the ass.

Is she in the right? Sure. Should we respect her regardless? Yes. But her recent comments aren't great office politics, know what I mean? Let's hope her talent outshines her words.

What do you think? Is homosexuality ever a choice?

 

Image via witonbroadway.com

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