a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

Since When Did We Start Hating-on Our Own?

Posted on: January 23, 2012

Last night I did something I didn’t think I’d ever do.  It was against my better judgement, something I’ve avoided for over a year.  It just…happened.  I watched Sex and the City 2**. 

As a card-carrying member of the Sex and the City obsession club I’d been adamantly opposed to either movie.  I was ticked at the nerve of Darren Star and Michael Patrick King for taking the girls away from us just as things were getting good.  When I heard rumors of  a movie I sent e-mails to HBO imploring them to make a seventh season.  No way they could give their adoring fans everything we needed in an hour and a half movie!  Day after day, week after week I sent e-mails to no avail.  The movie was released and I was pleasantly surprised, minus Jennifer Hudson’s terrible acting.

When the second movie came around I tried to hide the fact that I was excited.  I rolled my eyes at my colleagues who went to the premier at midnight in their SATC-best.  I instead watched as reviews of the movie reported that it was a waste and that the clothing, naturally, was only redeeming quality.

I was content to not see it and instead watch SATC religiously.  I watch SATC like we read Torah.  I watch it season after season and end with the first movie. Then, just as the credits roll at the end of Movie 1, I pop in Season One Episode One into my DVD player the same night and start the process again.  To say that I have an obsession is to put it very, very mildly.  I own the game, the deluxe box set, and two copies of the first movie.  Back in the Myspace-days I took a SATC quiz and came out “a Miranda.”  I wanted to be Carrie so I took it again and changed my answers from my very Miranda-answers to Carrie-answers and smiled with delight as the curly-haired Carrie Bradshaw emerged on my screen.  I was a Carrie (Miranda)!

So imagine my suprise, years later when Cynthia Nixon walked into my last retail place of employment.  Her hair was its natural dark blonde color and she wore a very Miranda season two outfit: a track suit, over-sized coat and large hat pulled low over her eyes.  As she handed me her credit card to pay for the purchase I did something I’ve only done to two other celebrities (Judith Light and Glen Close)  I acknowledge her.  I thanked her for her purchase, and for coming out, and for being an inspiration to women who come out late in life.

After Cynthia declared that she “chose to be gay” I got increasingly frustrated at the bickering, bitching and moaning that emerged on the internet.  I didn’t read the comments on the Huffington Post article because comments are evil, but seriously-who cares?  She’s in a long-term relationship with a woman and they’ve had a child together-they sound pretty gay to me. 

Being gay, in my opinion, is a lot of choices.  I could have chosen to marry the man I was engaged to at 21.  I could have chosen to continue to date men despite the fact that that every inch of my body loathed it (in the end).  Before I came out, I was straight.  Then I came out and I wasn’t…but that’s just me.  If I think about it long and hard I can remember the first girl I had a crush on, the first time that the sight of a breast sent chills through my body.  I can also remember the first time I kissed a boy and having those same feelings.  Because I acknowledged my lesbian feelings at 27 rather than in college like some people it can seem that I chose to be gay, but really does it matter? I’m gay now.

There are plenty of celebrities who have not come out.  They are gay in their private lives (which is an entirely different blog post) and gay in public, but they never say “I’m Gay!”  Cynthia Nixon did.  She marched in California during the Prop 8 marriage amendment, she marched in NY to support marriage for LGBT people, she was a keynote speaker at the nation’s gayest synagogue-during Pride Shabbat!  She’s gay, she’s out, she’s proud. 

I’m a lesbian.  I love women.   I think women are the most perfect, sexy, incredible, strong, marvelous, curious, mysterious, powerful, remarkable, beautiful, erotic, stoic creations Gd made.  I love looking at women, I love kissing women and I’m glad that I made the choice to live my life out and in the open as a lesbian.  Every day I make that choice.  I make it when I out myself at work, when I correct strangers who ask if I have a boyfriend, to doctors who wonder who my in case of emergency person is.  I am always choosing to be gay.  Just as I choose to be Jewish. 

Jews, both born and by choice, make a decision to be Jewish.  Sure we’re born that way or the mikveh makes us Jews, but in my opinion making Jewish choices each day is just that-a choice.  I could choose to just be, but instead I’m guided by Judaism.  On the same side of the coin, being a LGBTQ person is about making choices as well.  Whether it’s genetics or not, when we walk down the street we make the choice to be seen as gay or not gay.

There are enough people in the world who are trying to see that LGBTQ never get equal civil rights.  People who’d rather see decisions about death and dying left to “real” family members as opposed to life-partners.  Lesbian and Gay couples can’t travel in the majority of the U.S. with their children, LGBTQ people are harassed and fired from work, LGBTQ people aren’t allowed to get married in the majority of the U.S.  I can see how all of these things make Cynthia’s comments hard to swallow, but we shouldn’t turn our back to a woman who has been such a strong ally, not to mention she’s a part of the family.

This division between gay, lesbian, queer, trans, bisexual, etc. etc. has its place.  I feel most comfortable around queer lesbians, but when it comes down to it, we’re all on the same team, the big ole gay team. We have to stick together for each of us as individuals, and for all of us as a broader community of allies.  We have to unite together, rather than pick at one another with hateful comments and ignorant statements…it’s what the straights want.*

Lastly, there are plenty of LGBTQ people, including teens and preteens, who know that they’re gay and cannot come out.  They can’t make the choice to say, “Mom, Dad I’m gay” because they might be kicked out of their homes.  Those kids are making the choice to not come out, to live a life filled with depression and anxiety.  A life wondering when it will be time, if they’ll be strong enough, if they’ll have support when they come out. 

I’m not a genetics expert, I can’t tell you what the science says about being gay or not being gay.  I can only share my truth:  I made the choice not to come out. I made the choice to be straight. When I was ready I made the choice to be gay.  I’m a happier person since that choice to come out.  I feel more fulfilled and more alive and happier than I ever have been.  I’ve met the woman of my dreams and I couldn’t have done that had I not decided to come out.  Do I personally think I’ve always been gay, yup.    Is my truth your truth?  No, and it’s not my place to try and make it any different.



*little jab, don’t take offense.

**i liked it!



2 Responses to "Since When Did We Start Hating-on Our Own?"

Did Cynthia Nixon mean she made the choice to be with a woman or she made the choice to be open about it?

From the New York Times Piece : “Nixon manages to keep a similarly cleareyed perspective on her relationship with Marinoni, despite the titillation it has caused in the tabloid media. She has less tolerance for the skepticism she says her relationship has sparked among some gay activists who find her midlife switch in sexual orientation disingenuous.

“I totally reject that,” she said heatedly. “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.” Her face was red and her arms were waving. “As you can tell,” she said, “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.”


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