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Cynthia Nixon: Being Gay was a Choice for Me

Cynthia Nixon: Being Gay was a Choice for Me

Cynthia Nixon is speaking out about the controversy about her relationships with her college sweetheart, Danny Mozes, and her current partner, Christine Marinoni.

The 45-year-old actress, who currently stars in Wit on Broadway, was profiled in the New York Times.

“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,” Cynthia said.

“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,” she added.

“I am very annoyed about this issue. Why can’t it be a choice? Why is that any less legitimate? It seems we’re just ceding this point to bigots who are demanding it, and I don’t think that they should define the terms of the debate,” Cynthia concluded.

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Credit: Joseph Marzullo; Photos: WENN
Posted to: Cynthia Nixon

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  • Liz

    She’s completely right.

  • Annie

    Sooooo… she’s essentially bisexual. I *kinda* get what she’s saying – all homosexual people shouldn’t automatically be lumped into the same box. For some it may be a conscious “choice” while others know they were born that way and one isn’t less valid than the other. If I understood what she’s trying to say that is.

  • David

    That means you’re bisexual, Cynthia.

  • BEAN

    I think she is bisexual, but to be honest there is no reason for anyone to criticise her. Sexuality is a personal thing. If you’re telling others to mind their own business then mind your own.

  • June

    She’s right. It is a choice, you choose to be with men or women. No one is born gay or straight. Thank you Cynthia

  • Andrea

    ok miranda

  • Drew

    This is a statement I’ve been eagerly anticipating. I’m reminded of Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama back in 2008, when he didn’t simply refute that Obama was Muslim, but reminded everyone it wouldn’t matter if he was. It was a missing piece of the conversation.

    Nixon, an always articulate advocate for LGBT rights, making this point publicly is significant. The conversation has become one of semantics when it should be about common sense, decency, and equality. Homosexuality is real and every bit as worthy as heterosexuality, no matter the hows or whys.

  • Mimi

    @David: Yeah, I agree and I’m not hatin’. I don’t care who she sleeps with, but I think she’s bisexual. I’m straight and couldn’t just decide to eat pussy tomorrow. It’s not in my nature or genes or whatever you want to call it.

  • Jennica Panettiere

    Well on the one hand I want to scream at her and say, “JUST TELL PEOPLE YOURE A BISEXUAL WHO PREFERS WOMEN”.

    But on the other hand, many women leave their husbands to be with other women and genuinely fall in love with them even though their WHOLE LIVES they considered themselves STRAIGHT. I have no idea how you can do that, but it’s possible I assume and it’s simply a case of ‘if only you walked a mile in my shoes’ so judge not les ye be judged.

  • A

    Good god, some people annoy the hell out of me. No Cynthia is NOT bisexual. Stop being condescending and listen to what she is saying! For *her* it WAS a choice. For *you* it might not have been a choice.
    You are complaining about the “oppressor” but at the same time oppressing one of your own!
    We are all different, why can’t we embrace that instead of punishing others for not being like us.

  • Jennica Panettiere

    @Jennica Panettiere: Regarding my first comment, I say that because there are people who dont believe in bisexuality and she could be an advocate for that. But she considers herself gay, so meh.

  • Mimi

    @A: OK, then by your definiition she’s just a slut?

  • Mimi

    @A: OK, so by your definition she’s just a s l u t who will sleep with anyone?

  • cal

    is being a clueless moron who doesn’t understand how sexuality works also a choice for her, or does that come naturally? only a bisexual person would be able to “choose” one or the other.

  • A

    @Mimi: No you fcking idiot, re read what I wrote! She is exactly what she say she is!

  • A

    @cal: Don’t complain about heterosexuals not respecting homosexuals the way you treat Cynthia and others like her! You are completely dismissing what she said and putting on label (bisexual) in the most snarky condescending b*tchy way. How would you like it if someone said “No, you are not gay/straight/bisexual, you are THIS because I say so! “She is a grown fcking woman stop labeling her! For her it was a choice. Accept that and move the fck on.

  • A

    Why do you get to define her sexuality for her? Who are you to say she is bisexual or it not being a choice for her? Are all gay people the same? Accept that for some gays it’s a choice and for others it’s not.

  • dsfds

    I agree with her. To some people it IS a choice. I was with a guy for 7 years, and I loved him, the sex wasn’t bad either. I always knew I liked women too though, but never got to try it until we broke up. Since then I’ve been with only women because I just like it so much better, not because I don’t find men attractive. I don’t consider myself bisexual, because I couldn’t imagine ever being with a man again, because I don’t WANT to be. It’s like you live your life thinking something is good, then you try something much better and don’t want to go back, even though you don’t find the old thing entirely disgusting… it’s just “ok”.

  • Mimi

    @A: If she considers it a choice than it’s really disgusting, even though I’m totally for gay rights. To think that she would “choose” to sleep with someone that ugly is disturbing. Couldn’t she find a beautiful l e s b i a n?

  • nonya

    not trying to criticize her but she just ruined a lot of what gays have been trying to get through stubborn people’s minds that gay is not a choice :(
    why would she say this?!

  • Lila

    So, technically it is a choice for everyone. The way I see it, is that you can chose who you are going to be in a relationship with. No one is forcing you be in a relationship with someone of the same sex. You are actively making the choice to be in a homosexual relationship. Additionally, to say “you can’t choose who you fall in love with” is probably true, but you can chose how you act upon that love. A teacher could fall in love with his underage student, but it is his responsibility not to act on that because it would be inappropriate. Furthermore, as you have said, if a person can’t chose to be gay, by the same token they would not be able to chose to straight either. A man could say “I’m gay because I am only attracted to men,” and then he could end up meeting a woman that he is attracted to because HE CANNOT CHOSE WHO HE IS ATTRACTED TO. I honestly think that being gay is just a social construct. People who say “being gay is not a choice” well then being straight is not a choice either. So you can say you’re gay, but how do you know you just have not met a member of the opposite sex to whom you are attracted? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

  • Robert


    She’s not essentially right. She’s making things worse. She is bisexual and what she is saying is that she is attracted to men and women and she is choosing to be with a woman.

  • Mimi

    @Lila: Wow, what great comments. I think people are born gay and personally I don’ t believe in bisexuality. I think bisexuals are either 1) really gay and don’t want to commit to that lifestyle or 2) promiscuous and will sleep with anybody. Either way I support gay rights. However, to say that one can choose to be attracted to the opposite sex of the same sex is ricidulous. I am straight and there is no choice about that in my mind.

  • Carebear

    I understand what she’s trying to say, but she could have worded it better. It would be like me saying I *choose* to be with men. Well, I choose it because I’m straight and not sexually attracted to women. I guess it could kind of be called a choice then?? However, I made this *choice* because I was born that way. Make any sense?

  • Mac

    for me she confuses “living gay” with “being gay”. you can’t choose if you ARE gay, but you can choose if you live according to your sexual preference or if you stay in the closet about it.

    coming out is a choice, but being gay is just like being male or female, black or white. who can chose to be white, except Michael Jackson anyway?!

  • A

    @Robert: You are an utter idiot. That’s not at all what she said and who the hell are you to say she is bisexual? She just said she’s not and yet you won’t listen to her and try to define her sexuality for her. The fcking audacity is mind blowing.
    Maybe you should spend some more time defining your own sexuality and stop seeking validation from others. All gay people are not alike.

  • Mac

    oh and I believe in pansexuality (meaning you love someone, but the sex doesn’t matter), and bisexuality. Why is it unbelieveable for some, that people don’t choose their partners according to their sex organs? doesn’t the person matter more?

  • Nora

    Who knows, perhaps she was with a man and did not choose to be with that man. Perhaps it was something that was forced on her.

    And so, her CHOICE was in future to be with a woman.

    All sexuality is a choice. Even heterosexuals can choose to be active or not.

  • Ingrid

    @Nora: You’re comments are nonsensical. You’re forgetting the essential part of all sexuality, the most important organ: the brain. That’s where sexuality and sexual preference really live and whether you are celibate or not doesn’t change that fact.

  • Ingrid

    @Mimi: Yeah, I agree. Why not choose to be in love with Angelina Jolie, who purports to be another bisexual.

  • Cece

    @Mimi: Please educate yourself. Saying bisexuality doesn’t exist is as offensive as saying homosexuality doesn’t exist… When you say you’re bisexual you’re either gay and a coward or a s***t? That’s a slap in the face of a lot of people.

    Why couldn’t it be a valid sexual orientation, to like both genders to some degree? Sexuality is not as simple as “you’re either straight or gay”. For some people it is, for other it’s not. You say you support gay rights and that’s great, but try to be tolerant towards everybody.

  • dani


    Actually you are wrong. Science has found that being gay is NOT a choice. It is genetic. Cynthia for whatever reasons swings both ways. I have a friend who prefers women, but considers herself to be basically straight. Why? Because she was molested by an uncle from age 6-12 and finds men bring back too many memories. Ones she has been unable to get over. People like you are either unwittingly cruel or cruel in the extreme to those that have no choice in their orientation or to those that make a choice based on past experiences.

  • Mimi

    @Cece: With all due respect, as I already wrote, I 100% support gay rights, which obviously includes bisexuality. However, I personally don’t believe in bisexuality and gave my explanation on that in an earlier post here.

  • Cece

    @Mimi: Uh, yes, I can read, you support everybody but you think some of them don’t have a “valid” or “real” sexual orientation. And I continue to say it’s offensive and completely illogical.

  • Mimi

    @Cece: I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. However, again, I do support gay rights 100% and will continue to do so.

  • MA

    @Lila: All sexualities are social constructs since we develop our sexuality and sexual preferences affected by the world around us. The fact that we even have names for sexual identities is a social construct.

    According to the World Health Organization:
    Sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships. While sexuality can include all of these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed. Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors.

  • RayA

    Jesus @ some of the posts here: I can not believe the narrow mindedness of some people here. She is talking common sense. She made a choice, she chose to be who she is which is incredibly brave to do rather than just saying “I can’t help it, etc”.

    Neither is wrong and neither is the only right answer. Some people feel they were born that way, some make an active choice. Why is that so hard to comprehend?

    Shouldn’t you all be supporting one another rather than having a pissing contest over who is more gay than the other? It’s disgusting to read. How do you propose to get respect when people like me read this and see you infighting with just as much narrow mindedness and hostility that you complain you get from society in general???

    And why is her saying she made a choice damaging to your cause? I really don’t get that? I honestly don’t.

  • Meg

    @RayA: It’s completely damaging to the homosexual cause!!!! She just set homosexual rights back decades and they are sure to be angry! Since the beginning, they have been fighting the ignorant belief that it’s a choice, when it’s not. Why would one choose to be discriminated against and looked down upon their whole life because of whom they love IF one could choose to love the opposite sex?????

  • Sabrina

    Homosexuality is NOT a choice. Why would someone choose to be gay and be treated like a second-class-citizen in this homophobe/heterosexist environment we sadly live in? For example in Iran you will get hanged if you are gay and nonetheless there are gay people. And what about all the suicides of homosexual teens who were bullied because of their sexual orientation? I’m pretty sure they would have chosen to be heterosexual, if they could have…
    But I have to agree with Cynthia when she says: “I say it doesn’t matter if we flew here or we swam here” and “Why is that any less legitimate? It seems we’re just ceding this point to bigots who are demanding it”.
    It simply SHOULD NOT MATTER if it’s a choice or not. Fact is: THERE ARE homosexual people and they deserve to have EVERY RIGHT heterosexuals have.

  • Meg

    @Sabrina: Well actually it does matter to all those religious people who send their children to therapists to “cure” them of homosexuality. Cynthia has really hurt gay rights with her comments. I assure you that she will soon feel the backlash, which she deserves. Maybe she should have just “chosen” to keep her bisexual mouth shut!!!!

  • RayA


    But what is wrong with it being a choice? What is wrong with choosing to be who you want to be?

    You seem to be looking at it the wrong way, because you shouldn’t be turning on the person who made that choice but questioning the people who see her making that choice as a bad thing.

    I don’t see it as a bad thing???? Good for her.

    I thought you were all trying fight for this: change societies perception that being gay is a bad thing. Yet, what I am reading here is perpetuating it.

    In my mind, what cynthia said was a positive to me because I thought “well bloody done for standing up and saying that”. More should be saying that and not afraid of what society will think about them for making that choice knowingly.

  • Sheepypie

    I don’t think it can be a choice, because I don’t think you can choose who you fall in love with. You either fall in love or you don’t. You can’t “decide” to. Even if a woman is bisexual, she can’t really just say, “I choose not to fall in love with a man.” She might hope to fall in love with a woman, or choose to live with a woman, but the heart wants what it wants, not the brain.

  • Meg

    @RayA: I don’t know what your sexual orientation is, but let’s just say you’re straight. Do you see yourself being able to choose to be gay? I am straight and I do not understand that concept or visa versa Trust me, gays will voice their negative opinions on her comments. I guarantee it.

  • Barbra

    @Sheepypie: Actually sexuality is in the brain, not the heart. Stupid comments.

  • RayA


    Meg, a very good question to ask! I won’t lie and fabricate my story to make me sound like a matyr for gay and lesbian rights because up to now I have only ever been in heterosexual relationships but I won’t rule out having a relationship with a woman either because I don’t know who I will meet in the future. I don’t see as wrong if I do.

    If I chose to be with women in the future, would that make me less “gay” in people’s eyes than someone who says they were just born that way?

  • Meg

    @RayA: OK, I’m confused because your name is Ray but you’re a woman, correct?

  • Meg

    RayA: To me it’s not a question of being more or less gay. The point is that it’s not a choice. It’s like saying I could choose to be 5 inches taller. It is what it is and I support it.

  • RayA


    Correct! It is what my friends and colleagues call me, as it is a shortened version of Rachel: Nice to meet you.

  • Meg

    @RayA: Nice to meet you too. So here are my thoughts if you chose to be with another woman in the future. I still believe it would not be a choice. Presumably you would want to be with a woman because your brain is telling you that you are sexually attracted to that person. Therefore, I go back to my original point, which is that homosexuality originates in the brain and therefore is not a choice, but probably genetic.

  • RayA


    It not being a choice is an opinion, not a fact. I fully believe that you should be allowed to admit that you chose rather that being white washed into believing that is inferior or wrong compared to someone who just already knew earlier on. Even then, people who knew from an earlier age had to make a choice to follow that rather than fight against it. So, either way, you all make a choice. I respect them either way.

    Plus, I don’t see bisexuality as being inferior or lesser form of sexuality.