Cynthia Nixon, Choice and Queerness


My and my most-awesome-ladybro-ever Ariel made a video. Then we watched some TNG.

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5 thoughts on “Cynthia Nixon, Choice and Queerness

  1. I love you two and this video so much. I think the furor over choice vs non-choice is a red herring that unnecessarily promotes infighting in the queer community. I don’t think it has to be either/or- both apply to my life- and I don’t think its acceptable to tell another person that their experience is invalid. Finally, Ariel, thank you for being a champion for those of us who didn’t “always know”!

  2. I think you’re spot on in terms of both the argument against biological determinism and the argument for diversity and fluidity. In my opinion, a binary and static construction of gender and sexuality excludes and makes invisible the lives of a great number of people. And I am deeply suspicious of anyone who thinks pandering to those in power so they let us have access to some of it is more worthwhile than supporting marginalised voices.

    I think desire is complex. And I know that I make choices around my desires. To do this I have to unlearn dominant narratives and relearn others. In a heteronormative/white/able body/middle class/binary gendered world every time I look for a relationship that doesn’t fit the expected moulds, I make a choice. And the choice is often one of necessity, to wit, the expected relationships stifle or bore me. I choose to not be stifled or bored, I choose to explore my gender, I choose to not limit myself to desires sanctioned by the state, I choose to look for joy in unconventional ways. All this is I choose, but then again I don’t… so much a choice as a driving need to be able to breathe.

    Also… Tilda Swinton. Sigh!

  3. I’ve thought about leaving a comment to this all day. I’ve decided to do it anonymously, which is a bit chicken. I find that this discussion of choice brings out a lot of aggression in people and I am really surprised that you are not showing any comment to this post. Maybe you just didn’t edit them yet. Anyway.
    I’m a bisexual woman. I am 40 years old and have been bisexual since I remember. This does not mean I have not been confused and it has not been (very) difficult, it just means I remember being attracted to multiple genders from an early age. Was I lesbian, no I like that guy, OK so am I straight, no hang on, she is nice. The partners I have had through my life have been through attraction – not choice – I was attracted to them (and they to me). I have never found it problematic to have a girlfriend in a gender stereotype society. What I found difficult was someone saying “did you know that she’s lesbian” to an ex-boyfriend- because no, I’m not. He was not a ‘mistake’. My partners have been in my life because of who I was attracted to – and who was attracted to me. I don’t know if you can call this a choice – it just happens. But I will agree to it being a choice in that we decide to act on an emotion. So this is part one of choice (the hard one).
    Part two of my choice is that I prefer monogamy. Serial monogamy, but monogamy. There is this idea, that because I’m bisexual I must miss something if I have only one partner. That I should have the right to bring a third part into my relationship on a need be basis, because as a bisexual I cannot commit to one gender. This may be the experience for some bisexuals, I don’t know, I have never felt it.
    Part three of my choice is that I am really committed to the idea of a long term relationship, growing old together. My partner and I have been together for 12 years and I love how we are together today, because of time…. I ended up with a he! Apparently this automatically takes away all my rights to talk about sexuality. Because I’ve chosen monogamy, because I chosen to commit for a long time, I’m a traitor to just about everything. I have addressed this in a public forum once and once only – and will probably never do it again. I was torn apart by angry women stating that I had conformed to the norms of society, that I was a fake, oppressing my sexuality bla bla bla
    This is bullshit. Hurtful bullshit, but bullshit nevertheless. Just because I live with a man I’m still bisexual, but as other people who have chosen a monogamous, long-term relationship, I have sex with one person only. I have sexual fantasies about both women and men. Most people do – regardless of their sexuality – but I wake up next to one person only. Because I choose to. Because I have values about fidelity that has to do with trust. Because living together, being committed to each other, for a long time is valuable to me.
    Trust me when I say that it could just as easily have ended up with a woman. I almost did. Had I been with her for 12 years I would have been called a lesbian, which I don’t mind, but it would be equally as untrue as calling me straight today. So I support your discussion by saying that I have made choices. But I cannot change that I’m bisexual (and don’t want to). Cynthia Nixon is bisexual, committed to a woman who she wants to marry. This tells me that Cynthia and I have very similar sexuality and values and make similar choices.

    • It’s really sad to me that you feel the need to post anonymously about your experiences in fear of backlash and marginalisation from people who have also been on the receiving end of that kind of marginalisation and denial of their experience and self. It’s a narrative I’ve heard expressed a lot by persons who identify as bisexual and end up in a long term relationship with someone of the opposite sex. It’s terribly sad that people are not more supportive over individuals choices, even more so in a community like the LGBTQ community.

  4. This was a great video thanks. I particularly liked Aofie’s point that, and I paraphrase, biologically determined sexuality/gender is a powerful narrative but becomes a problem when it is used to erase other people’s experiences.

    Having said that however, I’m not sure how much of a choice there is. What follows is purely anecdotal, personal experience and random musings from the top of my head.

    There are certainly many choices to be made, how you want to express yourself, when to express various things, with whom you want to express them with etc. But I still believe that the base desires for the things we want are determined mostly biologically. Different desires may manifest at different points of our lives, certainly experiences and societal pressures can shape those desires. I didn’t ever make an actual choice to be straight, and at the same time I couldn’t make a choice to be gay, I’m simply incapable of finding men sexually attractive, or at least I have been unable to up to this point in my life. While I understand that it could be me conforming to social pressure, I have tried to take that into account when thinking of such topics. (My friend has just told me that he thinks I might just be broken 😛 ) While I wouldn’t dare claim that my experience is universal, if there is a biological barrier to me being attracted to men, then it’s fair to say that not having that barrier would also be biological. While you could choose then to not express your attraction to men, the attraction itself would not be a choice.

    I hope that makes some semblance of sense. And I’d welcome other’s thoughts, particularly Ariel as she came across as strongly opposed to the biologically determined argument, and I’d love to hear more of her thoughts.

    Also, Irish accents are awesome 😀

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