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Gay by choice? Actress Cynthia Nixon says she is

Born this way? Not Cynthia Nixon.

The Sex in the City actress is catching plenty of flak this week for saying that she's gay by choice in an article published in Sunday's New York Times magazine.

"[F]r 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," Ms. Nixon told the magazine. "… Why can't it be a choice? Why is that any less legitimate?"

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Ms. Nixon, who ended a 15-year relationship with the father of two of her children in 2003, is now engaged to long-time partner Christine Marinoni. The couple had a son nearly a year ago.

Ms. Nixon told the magazine that she's faced skepticism from some gay activists, who view her switch in sexual orientation as disingenuous.

In a recent speech to a gay audience, she said, she included the line, "I've been straight and I've been gay, and gay is better." It was a phrase, she said, that some tried to make her change.

"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 can opt out," she explained. "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."

Some are shaking their heads at Ms. Nixon's comments.

"We totally hear her out and true, we cannot define her 'gayness,' but it wasn't a choice for us," celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton responded. "We were BORN gay. And millions of gay people around the world feel the same way."

In a separate interview with The Daily Beast posted on Tuesday, Ms. Nixon expressed further frustration over the lack of acceptance for those whose sexual orientation is not so cut and dry.

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"I don't pull out the 'bisexual' word because nobody likes the bisexuals. Everybody likes to dump on the bisexuals," she said.

When reminded that bisexual is what the "B" in LGBT stands for, Ms. Nixon replied: "I know. But we get no respect."

To restate Ms. Nixon's question: Why, if certain people feel their sexual orientation is a choice, would that be any less legitimate?

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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