It seems that Cynthia Nixon has found a way to follow up on last week’s flub with a statement that clarifies sexual orientation is not a choice without discounting choices she has made in her life. She told the Advocate today:
My recent comments in The New York Times were about me and my personal story of being gay. I believe we all have different ways we came to the gay community and we can’t and shouldn’t be pigeon-holed into one cultural narrative which can be uninclusive and disempowering. However, to the extent that anyone wishes to interpret my words in a strictly legal context I would like to clarify:
While I don’t often use the word, the technically precise term for my orientation is bisexual. 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.
Our community is not a monolith, thank goodness, any more than America itself is. I look forward to and will continue to work toward the day when America recognizes all of us as full and equal citizens.
As I suspected last week, she distinguishes between sexual orientation and sexual identity. For Nixon, it makes more sense to identify with the population of people with whom she is more likely to pursue relationships than the broader pool of people she might be attracted to, which seems perfectly reasonable. Unfortunately, her statement does not address the biphobia inherent in both her own identity choices as well as in the backlash she has faced over the past week. By conforming her identity to the gay-straight binary, she is reinforcing the very monolith it seems she wishes to challenge.
Nevertheless, Nixon’s point supports the ideal of a world where everybody can live their lives how they will without having to justify their identities, and for that, she should be applauded.