Cynthia Nixon has some gays activists up in arms, worried that her remarks will be used by conservatives to affirm that lesbian, gay and bisexual people are selecting a life of perversion. In a New York Times article, she claimed that for her, being gay is a choice (and a better choice than being straight, at that.). After serious backlash for the gay community, she later went on to amend her statement in the Huffington Post, stating that her bisexuality is not a choice but she chooses to be in a relationship with a woman.
Since the beginning of the gay rights movement, activists have made the argument that sexuality is an innate biological trait and therefore we ought not be discriminated against because of it. The argument was sound and simple, and certainly helped us make headway, even among religious folks who pitied us for being born with a perceived defect of sorts. However, this argument no longer reflects the variation in human sexuality that we see in 2012.
Nixon has it right. Politically, it’s time to let go of the argument that we are “born this way.” Nixon symbolizes what has become much more prevalent within the queer community. Sexuality is not immutable, but in fact is often fluid and changeable over the course of a lifetime. The argument over nature vs. nurture is as old as human behavior itself. Whether sexual orientation is innate or perhaps some combination of genetics, environment and socialization is ultimately irrelevant, and as a basis for equal rights is anachronistic and not legally necessary (as Christopher Stoll writes in the Huffington Post).
We ought to be able to choose who we love and with whom we create family and be subject to the same protection and privileges under the law that heterosexuals are regardless of the basis of our sexual orientation. For argument’s sake, what if I have chosen to be gay? Isn’t this choice just as legitimate a choice as anything else? We should not be discriminated against because of the sex of the person with whom we choose to partner. Period. How or why that affinity came to be is inconsequential.