New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, himself gay, takes on the controversy involving actress Cynthia Nixon, who last week told the media she chose to be a lesbian after living as a straight woman for decades.
Bruni says those outraged over Nixon's comments are missing the point. There is no conclusive evidence whether sexual orientation is hard-wired at birth or possibly influenced by outside factors, Bruni writes. If it is indeed something that someone chooses, whether actively or not, they should be entitled to that choice, the writer argues. Even if it is proven that being gay is purely genetic, it won't necessarily bring an end to homophobia and discrimination.
"The born-this-way approach carries an unintended implication that the behavior of gays and lesbians needs biological grounding to evade condemnation," Bruni writes. "Why should it? Our laws safeguard religious freedom, and that’s not because there’s a Presbyterian, Buddhist, or Mormon gene. There’s only a tradition and theology that you elect or decline to follow. But this country has deemed worshiping in a way that feels consonant with who you are to be essential to a person’s humanity. So it’s protected."