When Cynthia Nixon mentioned to the New York Times magazine she made a choice to be gay, the "Sex and the City" actress pushed a red-hot button over whether gay people should have the same civil rights as heterosexuals.
"I understand that for many people it's not, but for me it's a choice," the new Broadway star of "Wit" told a reporter.
Unlike a celeb's dishing on her diet or spouting off about politics, Nixon's controversial statement created a brouhaha among gay rights activists who believe she could have seriously set back years of scientific evidence that sexual orientation is pre-determined by biology and is not a personal decision. (One study, for instance, suggested that if an identical twin is gay the other twin has a 50 percent chance of also being gay.)
Some civil liberties advocates fear the redhead's remark will be manna to right wing religious activists who claim being gay is a lifestyle choice that can be un-chosen with the right kind of counseling and rehab. Gay rights defender Wayne Besen predicts Nixon's words will be used as a weapon "when some kid comes out and their parents force them into some ex-gay camp while she's off drinking cocktails at fancy parties."
The newly bald actress has been in both heterosexual (she had two children with former partner Danny Mozes) and homosexual relationships and claims she has been in "love and lust" with both her male and female lifemates. Though most people would dub the 45-year-old star a bisexual, she nixes this term for herself. "I don't pull out the 'bisexual' word because nobody likes the bisexuals. Everybody likes to dump on the bisexuals," she said.
So because the native New Yorker does not like belonging to a group that gets mocked -- bisexuals -- she deliberately muddied the waters on whether being gay is a choice? A gaggle of tweeters aren't buying the argument of legal eagle Miranda Hobbes' alter ego:
o "Me thinks you are Bi and not Gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that," wrote @Cocoamocogood.
o "I wonder if #Cynthia Nixon CHOSE to be such an idiot," chided @freshwaterfilms.
But what pithy140-character posts cannot convey is the serious consequence of Nixon's assertion that being gay can be a choice. The history of trying to convert proclaimed homosexuals to so-called normal heterosexuality is riddled with radical interventions from electric shock treatments to castration to extreme psychological counseling.
While some people are rabidly defending Nixon's right to label her sexual orientation as gay vs. bisexual, the fates of real-life people -- such as gay teenagers with high suicide rates and same-sex couples who want to get married -- could rest in the balance.
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