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Can We Please Stop Rehashing Cynthia Nixon’s Sexuality?

In an infuriating piece by the New York Daily News, a spokesperson for Cynthia Nixon was forced to clarify that the New York gubernatorial candidate does not identify as a “lesbian,” but rather considers herself “queer,” and therefore will not be New York state’s first lesbian governor. When pressed further as to why the former Sex and the City star doesn’t identify as such, spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said, “It’s personal.”

While we have yet to hear Cynthia Nixon refer to herself as “queer,” this feels like the thousandth time Nixon has unfairly labeled. It’s frustrating to watch Nixon field so many questions about her sexuality, or combat misconceptions about her identity when she’s spoken openly about identifying as bisexual numerous times.

So for the love of goddess, can we please stop rehashing Cynthia Nixon’s sexuality?

Back in May, former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is a lesbian, dubbed Nixon an “unqualified lesbian” in reference to her run. Nixon quickly co-opted the phrase, using it to promote her campaign fundraiser at the Stonewall Inn.

Calling all qualified and unqualified lesbians and everyone who wants funded schools, affordable housing & working subways: Join our Campaign Launch Party 3/21 at the Stonewall Inn, 6-9PM,” she wrote on Twitter.

At the event, Nixon poked fun at Quinn’s misfire, saying, “I just want to say tonight that [Quinn] was technically right, that I don’t have my certificate from the Department of Lesbian Affairs — though in my defense there’s a lot of paperwork required,” and later started selling campaign buttons with the phrase.

A few months earlier, Vox slammed major media outlets for calling Nixon’s candidacy an “openly gay” run, because Nixon has, time and time again, said she identifies as bisexual. In February of 2017, GLAAD posted an Instagram of Nixon holding a sign that read, “I am a mother and a bisexual and I am fighting for equality for all.”

In 2008, the Democratic candidate spoke to The Telegraph about her new relationship with Christine Marinoni (her current wife), after having dated a man for 15 years. “In terms of sexual orientation I don’t really feel I’ve changed,” she said. “I don’t feel there was a hidden part of my sexuality that I wasn’t aware of. I’d been with men all my life, and I’d never fallen in love with a woman. But when I did, it didn’t seem so strange. I’m just a woman in love with another woman.”

Nixon despised the notion that she was a late-in-life lesbian, and set the record straight with The Huffington Post in 2012 after a confusing statement where she insinuated that she chose to date women. Pointing to the misconception that she “had just simply been mistaken about myself for all these years and finally the veil was lifted and I was a lesbian,” she insisted that narrative was false.

Soon after, she expressed her frustration to The Daily Beast about bi-erasure, both in the media and amongst heterosexuals and gay people. “I do completely feel that when I was in relationships with men, I was in love and in lust with those men. And then I met Christine and I fell in love and lust with her,” she said. “I am completely the same person, and I was not walking around in some kind of fog.” She said, “Everybody likes to dump on the bisexuals.”

Six years later, we’re still painstakingly labeling Nixon a “lesbian.” For bisexuals, the term “queer” can be used interchangeably as an all-encompassing umbrella sexual ID, but nowadays, more and more celebrities are adopting the term, or some form of ambiguity, to describe themselves — which is intriguing.

This week, Kristen Stewart told Mastermind Magazine that she loves “ambiguity” when it comes to sexuality.

“Yeah, ambiguity is my favorite thing ever. In terms of sexuality? For sure,” she said in the candid interview. “And also in making films, if you perfectly answer every question, you don’t allow for people to have their own experience and really indulge a thought. I feel the same way about how we fuck each other. You don’t want to know everything all the time.”

Just this morning, actor Lucas Hedges offered his thoughts on labels and the spectrum of sexuality. Starring in Boy Erased, a film about gay conversion therapy, Hedges told Vulture, “In the early stages of my life, some of the people I was most infatuated with were my closest male friends. That was the case through high school, and I think I was always aware that while for the most part I was attracted to women, I existed on a spectrum.” He added, “I recognize myself as existing on that spectrum: Not totally straight, but also not gay and not necessarily bisexual.”

Cynthia Nixon is in good company. After a decade of dissecting her sexuality and trying to stuff it into one box or another, it’s time to stop rehashing it. Bisexuality, queerness, or ambiguous, unlabeled attraction are all valid sexual IDs, and just like Nixon’s spokeswoman said, “It’s personal,” and we need to take that at face value. She’s here, she’s queer, so shut the fuck up.

Image via Getty


Jill Gutowitz

Jill Gutowitz is a writer and humorist currently living in LA, originally from The Void.

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