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Cynthia Nixon's Bisexuality

Is claiming that identity more controversial than saying gayness is a choice?

Cynthia Nixon needs to add a word to her currently-lacking vocabulary: bisexual. In a recent interview with the New York Times Magazine, Nixon said “I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better,” adding that for her, being gay was a choice.

Not surprisingly, Nixon’s comments riled gay activists, who feel that proving gayness inherent in a gay person’s genes will hasten the march for full equality. Additionally, most gay people feel that they were born gay, or at least have learned that's what they ought to say; Nixon’s comments were shocking because they are not a part of carefully-crafted linguistic choices of most gay people.

Nixon went on to say that gay people expected her to say that she had been blind to her gay feelings throughout all the years she spent dating men. She said that she truly had connections with men, and would find it offensive to them if she negated the relationships they’d had, claiming some sort of confusion.

Nixon later sort of redacted her statements at The Daily Beast, saying that there are 100 percent gay people, and that she doesn’t pull out the bisexual label because nobody “likes” the bisexuals. Basically, after all of that hubbub, Nixon has decided to call herself bisexual after all. Or, rather, she would prefer to call herself bisexual if there weren’t such a stigma surrounding the word.

Nixon seems to believe she’s progressive, saying that she should be welcomed into the gay community because of her gay choice as if she’d been born that way. That is all fine and good, but why not be a visible presence for a minority within the LGBT community--bisexuals--that she herself thinks is stigmatized?

If Nixon wants to represent herself as a lesbian-identified bisexual, that’s all fine and good, but her statements like "I used to be straight, now I'm gay" imply that she never had been attracted to women before, and will never be attracted to men again now. But if she really wanted to represent the diversity of her experience within the LGBT umbrella, she should be more explicit about her truth. Based on her comments on her own bisexuality, it seems that her attractions have always been fluid, that she in some ways was always attracted to women, perhaps secondarily, and that she now is or could still be attracted to men.

I’m all for supporting a diversity of perspectives, and it is frightening to think that someone excluded because they believed they chose to be gay. But Nixon’s queer experience could have that much more power to change the bad reputation of bisexuals if she said that she’d had attraction to both men and women her whole life, but now was brave enough to prefer women.