Cynthia Nixon’s sexuality has been given many labels over the year, by both herself and the media.
But after clarifying in 2018 that she identifies as ‘queer’ rather than ‘lesbian’ or ‘bisexual’ (when pressed further, the actress simply replied at the time: “It’s personal”), the former Sex and the City star has revealed why the sometimes polarising term best fits her.
Cynthia Nixon talks queen life and her TV return in Ryan Murhpy’s ‘Ratched’ in the Attitude October issue, out now.
“To say ‘queer’ means, ‘I’m over there, I don’t have to go into the nuances of my sexuality with you’.”
Nixon, who after running to be the Democratic nominee for governor of New York in 2018, is set to make her return to TV with an LGBTQ role in Ryan Murphy’s new Netflix series Ratched, opposite Sarah Paulson.
The outspoken a screen star began dating her now-wife Christine Marinoni in 2004 after splitting from her husband of 15 years, but says she didn’t consider the relationship – her first with a women – to be a lightbulb moment.
“Falling in love with my wife was one of the great delights and surprises of my life, but it didn’t seem like I became a whole new person, or like some door had been unlocked”, she reflects.
Cynthia Nixon (right) with Sarah Paulson in Netflix’s ‘Ratched’
“It was like: ‘I have fallen in love with different people in my life and they’ve all been men before. Now, this is a woman and she is amazing.’
“So I feel like ‘queer’ is an umbrella term, and it includes my formerly straight self, too.”
Nixon’s eldest child, Samuel, who is in his early twenties, identifies as transgender. It’s one of the reasons that the actress used time in lockdown in New York over the summer to attend the Queer Liberation March in June as well as the Black Lives Matter protests.
“I feel like there are certain issues that the right wing seizes on again and again”, she explains.
“They won’t let go of abortion. They seem to have let go of a lot of the anti-gay rhetoric and antigay actions, but as they have sort of accepted gayness, they have focused on trans people, and on immigrants and on people of colour.”
In the face of such division, she believes the LGBTQ+ community needs to be unified.
“It’s a really peculiar thing, how much they [the right] try to separate us as a community.
“But [after same-sex marriage was legalised] we saw a great divide in our own community, too, between those who thought, ‘I got my wedding ring, I can pass my money on to my spouse and not pay taxes, so I’m good, I’m done’, as opposed to, ‘we have so far to go for so many members of our community, we are still so far from the promised land, we’re so far from having our full civil rights’.
“Trans people are a case in point, but also young, queer people of whatever stripe who are still, were being, tossed out of their homes and are living on the streets, many engaging in sex work to survive.”
With the US presidential election now less than two months away, former Bernie Sanders backer Nixon says she is “of course” now throwing her support behind Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, because “we just can’t get rid of Trump soon enough”.
“I’m really hopeful that we will all turn out in November, because we have to”, she says. “We have to do it for our country and we have to do it for our planet.”