“Fixed expectations can kill relationships.”
“That’s why I block you when you try to lock it down.”
“It’s FIXED expectations that kill. Expectations are necessary things, but they need to be mutable.”
There was more, I think, but it doesn’t matter. My point was that there’s nothing wrong with expectations, but we have to be able to let them go, let them change. Life just isn’t static. It’s fluid, and messy.
We work really hard at making sense of it, and often that means we put things in boxes, stick labels on ‘em. But circumstances are ever evolving, and sooner or later, those boxes and labels don’t fit anymore.
I suspect something like that may have happened to Cynthia Nixon. And now, because she experienced her own life in her own uniquely messy way — and talked about it — some folks in the “gay community” are a little annoyed with her.
OK, some of them are more than a little annoyed.
Hey, I get it. Cynthia said that for her, being gay is a choice, and boy, that just set the gay intelligensia off. “The bigots will pick that up and run with it!” they said. Sure they will. That’s what they do. But it really doesn’t matter to them. They already think it’s a choice, and no amount of us asking when they chose to be straight is gonna change that.
Here’s what John Aravosis wrote on his AmericaBlog Gay site:
If you like both flavors, men and women, you’re bisexual, you’re not gay, so please don’t tell people that you are gay, and that gay people can “choose” their sexual orientation, i.e., will it out of nowhere. Because they can’t. Every religious right hatemonger is now going to quote this woman every single time they want to deny us our civil rights.
But so what if it is a choice? Do we really want to let a bunch of back-asswards bigots define the boundaries of who we are and why? I don’t.
See, here’s what I think. I think that human sexuality, like the rest of our lives, is pretty fluid. I’m not saying we all float from absolute homosexual to absolute heterosexual, but there’s a degree of fluidity up and down the scale. Me, I’m pretty damn close to absolute homosexual, and I firmly believe I was born this way, that it’s hardwired into my system. But even I have been attracted to men, sexually. Well, to a man. One. I “chose” not to act on it. So, did I “choose” to be lesbian?
And maybe it’s not about “orientation,” or even the dreaded “preference” at all. Maybe it’s just that the qualities I want in a sexual partner are just pretty rarely found in men. This particular man had them, and I’m hard-pressed to think of another I’ve met who does. In fact, I can’t. Maybe I’m not really so “gay” as I am just really picky?
Here’s what Nixon, who was in a relationship with her male college sweetheart for 15 years — and has now been with her female partner for eight — said that so ticked off everybody, in an interview with the New York Times Magazine:
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. 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. As you can tell, 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. I also feel like people think I was walking around in a cloud and didn’t realize I was gay, which I find really offensive. I find it offensive to me, but I also find it offensive to all the men I’ve been out with.
When it comes right down to it, I pretty much think everything is fluid, even, oh, say, rocks. They just change very, very slowly, like in millions of years. Some things change quicker. It’s pretty easy to maintain fixed expectations about a rock because short of an explosion or maybe a good volcano, we’re not likely to be around to see it change. But for more animate objects, especially human ones, we’ll see lots of change. Sheeit, Mitt Romney changes every few minutes. He says it’s just the evolution of his thought processes, although I’m sure he’d avoid using that word, but why isn’t that a choice?
I once hated Bruce Springsteen. I don’t even know why. But now I love the man (not sexually, though). Hell, he’s 60 years old and still rockin’ out. I could stubbornly cling to my earlier idea of Bruce, but my tastes in music have evolved, my mind has changed, and I’ve chosen not to cling to outmoded ideas.
So Cynthia Nixon slept with men and women and found that women were better. So what? I just don’t think we’re made to be stuffed into boxes, even three — gay, straight, bi — that would seem to define the possibilities of human sexuality but really don’t even come close. It’s just not that easy to do, and if you think it is — maybe you’re not so sure about your own choices in life. The bigots want everybody to be like them, and most of the time, I’m pretty darn sure it’s because they fear expanding their horizons.
Let’s not emulate that. Give Cynthia a break. All she did was speak her truth. She’s on our side, not the side of those who would have us disappear.