Cynthia Nixon kicked off her campaign at a famous gay bar where she laughed off the ‘unqualified lesbian’ attack

Former Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon Getty Images
  • “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon milked a fellow Democrat’s insult for donations and laughs just days into her bid for New York governor.
  • On Tuesday, former City Council speaker Christine Quinn, an ally of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, called Nixon an “unqualified lesbian” – a comment she later apologised for making.
  • Nixon used a political reporter’s joke – that Nixon doesn’t have “a certificate from the Department of Lesbian Affairs” – at her campaign launch party on Wednesday night.

Much how Hillary Clinton transformed President Donald Trump’s “nasty woman” jab into a feminist rallying cry, actress and activist Cynthia Nixon turned an attack from a fellow Democrat, who called her an “unqualified lesbian,” into a calling card for her bid for New York governor.

Just hours after former City Council speaker Christine Quinn slammed Nixon, who supported Quinn’s opponent, Mayor Bill de Blasio, in the 2013 mayoral primary, Nixon used the offensive remark to raise money with a digital fundraising ask.

And she used it for laughs at her Wednesday night campaign launch party at New York City’s most famous LGBTQ gathering place.

“Welcome unqualified lesbians – and qualified ones too,” Nixon called out as she walked onto a tiny stage at the Stonewall Inn, the Greenwich Village bar and first national monument to the gay rights movement.

Nixon paid tribute to the basement bar’s storied history and called “being queer and being visible” one of the “unexpected joys” of her life, before returning to Quinn’s headline-making comment.

“I just want to say tonight that she was technically right,” Nixon said of Quinn, an ally of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and is also gay. “That I don’t have my certificate from the Department of Lesbian Affairs, but in my defence there is a lot of paperwork involved.”

The bar broke out in applause and laughter at the quip, which was soon after tweeted out from Nixon’s campaign account and received 176,000 “likes.”

Oddly, the joke appears to have been taken nearly word-for-word from a tweet written by Vox reporter Jane Coaston earlier on Wednesday.

While joke plagiarism may be a cardinal sin in the world of stand-up comedy, the same rules don’t apply in politics, and Coaston took it in stride.

Nixon also touched on her signature issues, noting that her focus on the struggling subway system will not eclipse issues of economic inequality, public education, poverty, and mass incarceration. And she railed against corruption in the Democratic party, without naming names.

“We have to wrest our country, and our state, and our party back from the corporate Democrats, back from the Wall Street Democrats, back from the elected Democrats who won’t lift a finger unless their donors say it’s ok,” she said to some of the night’s loudest cheers.

Nixon’s wife, Christine Marinoni, introduced Nixon earlier in the night in a short speech, telling the story of how the two met at a rally against education budget cuts in the early 2000s.

“Some people think, what an odd occurrence that Cynthia Nixon, a celebrity, is running for governor, but for those of us who know her it makes total sense,” Marinoni said. “Cynthia has a very, very keen sense of the type of world that she thinks we should be living in and the type of New York that she thinks we can and should have … she’s in it to win it.”