Is It Right Or Okay To Talk About Whitney Houston Maybe Being Gay?

young whitney houston

The bisexual rumors that swirled around Whitney Houston for nearly three decades have been re-ignited this week following her tragic death last Saturday. On Sunday, LGBT and Human Rights activist Peter Tatchell wrote on his facebook wall that Whitney “was happiest and at her peak in the 1980s, when she was with her female partner. They were so loved up and joyful together. It’s important to tell the truth about this aspect of her life. Colluding with the cover-up of her same-sex relationship is not right.”

I had to stare at that sentence for about ten minutes, wash some dishes and come back and read that sentence again and then again and still I wasn’t really sure what to think about it.

For starters, it’s awfully bold for Tatchell to posthumously confirm a relationship Houston herself denied multiple times. There’s a case to be made that it’s never been more relevant; despite how much Hollywood loves to portray fictional bisexuals as drug addicts, when faced with an actual bisexual drug addict, nobody seems to want to talk about the way that discrimination or secrecy around sexual orientation can contribute to or complicate mental health and substance abuse issues.

Similarly, to argue that it’s unseemly to discuss her lesbian relationship at this point implies there’s something unseemly about having a lesbian relationship to begin with. Michael Musto at The Village Voice commented thatnot surprisingly, the one thing that’s being left out of the vast majority of Whitney Houston obits is the L Word! But it’s hardly a dirty word… shouldn’t we acknowledge that this great singer was bisexual? And didn’t the way she always ran from the rumors contribute to her own self-defeating tendency for drama and tension?”

Today, TNT Magazine writes“Whitney Houston binged on drugs and alcohol because she was in turmoil over secret lesbian relationships, it has been claimed.”

And The Daily Mail got in on the action: “Whitney Houston was a secret lesbian and binged on the drugs and alcohol that killed her because she was torn over living a lie, it has been claimed.”

whitney, bobby brown, whitney's mom and robyn

OurBiNation, in response to The Daily Mail piece, made this observation: “Today what bothers us most is that the word ‘bisexual’ is never mentioned in the article (How many men did Ms. Houston have to have sex with to not be gay?), and regardless of her state of mind before her death (We will never really know), if she was depressed, her mental state should shine a light on the poor quality of mental health for all bisexuals.” 

And here’s what else Tatchell had to say on his facebook post: “I met Whitney and her partner at the Reach Out & Touch HIV rally in London in 1991, organised by Vernal Scott. Whitney spoke very movingly in support of people with HIV, at a time when many other stars kept their distance. She was pressured into the Bobby Brown marriage. It was a disaster. Her life started going downhill soon afterwards. Perhaps her inability to accept and express her same-sex love contributed to her substance abuse and decline? Whitney’s death is a tragic loss of a great vocal talent.”

whitney houston and robyn crawford at rehearsal in 1991 (photo by Ebony Magazine)

Before we even get into the Bobby Brown situation, let’s back up and recap the rumors for those of you uninitiated into this tale. It’s actually a sweet story, whether it’s the story of a lesbian relationship or a best friendship.

Whitney Houston met Robyn Crawford when they were both teenagers in East Orange, New Jersey, and they hit it off right away. Crawford eventually dropped out of college to work for Houston, and the two shared an apartment despite the fact that — as Tricia Romano points out – Houston, who’d already sold 13 million records, clearly could afford to live alone.

From a 1987 Time Magazine article about Whitney Houston entitled “The Prom Queen of Soul”:

At 17, Whitney completed her extended family when she met the “sister I never had.” Robyn Crawford — tall, slim, severely handsome — was 19 then; they have been nearly inseparable ever since. Four years ago Robyn dropped out of Monmouth College, where she had played basketball on scholarship, and later became Whitney’s personal assistant. They share a North Jersey flat with a view of Manhattan.

Because of their easy intimacy, the tattle mill has ground out the story that they are lovers. Both women shrug off the rumor. Says Robyn: “I tell my family, ‘You can hear anything on the streets, but if you don’t hear it from me, it’s not true.’ “

Whitney also alludes to family: “My mother taught me that when you stand in the truth and someone tells a lie about you, don’t fight it. I’m not with any man. I’m not in love. People see Robyn with me, and they draw their own conclusions. Anyway, whose business is it if you’re gay or like dogs? What others do shouldn’t matter. Let people talk. It doesn’t bother me because I know I’m not gay. I don’t care.”

I’ve seen that interview quoted at least five times this week, and it’s used as evidence that Whitney was almost unnaturally cool about the rumors, which makes her incredibly ahead of her time. But according to Karla Jay’s 1996 book Dyke Life, Houston’s publicists weren’t quite so cool about it, and they “issued nearly forty statements denying that the singer’s relationship with then longtime companion Robin Crawford was lesbian.”

In a 1991 interview with WhitneyEbony magazine describes how as teenagers “Robyn was an All-State basketball star and Whitney was a shy, aspiring singer and favorite target of inner-city bullies.” Robyn was the outgoing one, and her friendship made Whitney feel safe. The article also addressed the rumors about their affair:

Of all the rumors, Whitney is most irked — and hurt — by allegations that she is involved in an affair with her close friend and executive assistant, Robyn Crawford. “I realize that this thing has been fueled by the fact that I’m very private with my life,” she says. “I don’t make it my business to expose my relationships; it’s hard enough just to keep one. So I figured that since people didn’t know who I was sleeping with, they just assumed I was sleeping with Robyn.”

[...] To the media she declares: “You don’t live with me every day! So how can you say that this is what I am or what I do?”

whitney with robyn

Houston also said some interesting things about what she looks for in a partner, while addressing rumors about liaisons with Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall:

“Basically,” she says, “if you put Whitney Houston aside, what you’ll find is a woman. You put Eddie Murphy aside, you’ll find a man. You put Arsenio aside, you’ll find a man. All that other stuff is just the ‘gravy’ we have become. But before we were this, we were humans. People. That’s the bottom line.”

In the 90′s, there were additional lesbian rumors, this time about Whitney Houston and actress Kelly McGillis, who came out in 2009. It was rumored that Houston frequently visited McGillis in Chicago during the filming of 1991′s The Babe. McGillis has since said that she’s never even met Whitney Houston:

As for the rumor-turned-urban-legend that Kelly was involved in a three-way lovers’ spat with Jodie Foster and Whitney Houston during the filming of The Accused, Kelly laughs and crushes that with a single blow: “I’ve never met Whitney Houston. I think she’s vastly talented, but I have never met the woman.

Then Houston married Bobby Brown, which quieted the rumors about her bisexuality somewhat (despite the fact that marrying a man does nothing to discredit one’s bisexuality, but whatever) or at least jump-started a new round of rumors, this time focused on her alleged drug use and turbulent marriage. Crawford was Houston’s maid of honor, but she moved out shortly after Brown and Houston struck up their affair and “by 2000, was no longer “part of Whitney’s empire.”

Then there was this interview in 1999 about her performance at New York City’s Gay Pride, in which she makes a point of pointing out that it’s not her pride, it’s “their pride” and she’s “just there to entertain”:

In May 2000, Whitney Houston appeared on the cover of OUT Magazine, another bold statement for an actress dogged by lesbian rumors. In addition to, I hope, covering her AIDS-related organization charity work, the article dug into her sexuality again:

“That ain’t me, I know what I am, I’m a mother. I’m a woman. I’m heterosexual. Period. But I love everybody. If I was gay, I would be proud to tell you, ’cause I ain’t that kind of girl to say, “Naw, that ain’t me.” The thing that hurt me most was that they tried to pin something on me that I was not. My mother raised me to never, ever, be ashamed of what I am. But I’m not a lesbian, darling, I’m not.”

Later in the story:

“I am me, I’m a mother. I love to hear my child call me mommy. That’s what I am, not lesbian, not gay, not all the bullshit. I don’t wanna hear that. It’s over. It’s done.”

Houston’s typical defensiveness suggests, of course, that she hasn’t really moved on at all. When I tell her that I believe she’s straight, she retorts, “It’s not for you to believe me. I don’t give a shit if you believe me or not.”

After her divorce from Bobby Brown in 2007, Brown began hyping a “tell-all” biography entitled Bobby Brown: The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But, which promised to reveal the whole truth about Houston’s sexuality. An excerpt from the book was leaked to The New York Post in April 2008, which read as follows:

“I think we got married for all the wrong reasons. Now, I realize Whitney had a different agenda than I did when we got married … I believe her agenda was to clean up her image, while mine was to be loved and have children… The media was accusing her of having a bisexual relationship with her assistant, Robyn Crawford. Since she was the American Sweetheart and all, that didn’t go too well with her image . . . In Whitney’s situation, the only solution was to get married and have kids. That would kill all speculation, whether it was true or not. In the short, I think I got caught up in the politics and ended up marrying one of the biggest stars in the world.”

It’s a cold assessment from a man who did more to fuck up Whitney’s image than Robyn could ever dream of, and it also seems a bit unfair — while I honestly know next-to-nothing about their relationship, I’ve read a lot of Being Bobby Brown recaps on fourfour and it seems like if nothing else, she genuinely loved him, for better or for worse. It was not a farce. Besides, how the hell could Bobby Brown “clean up” Whitney’s image?

According to The Daily Beast, gossip reporters like blogger Daryl Deino continued to say that it was “common knowledge that Whitney and Robyn were together” as late as 2009: “Anybody who works in the recording industry knows about Whitney and Robyn’s relationship; they barely did anything to hide it during recording sessions.”

young whitney houston

So that’s where we were at last week. Today, Esquire published a poignant and respectful obituary for Whitney Houston written by Robyn Crawford herself, which says really lovely heartbreaking things like, “She looked like an angel. When my mother first met her, she laughed and said, “You look like an angel, but I know you’re not.” And she wasn’t. But she looked like one.” And also:

“I have never spoken about her until now. And she knew I wouldn’t. She was a loyal friend, and she knew I was never going to be disloyal to her. I was never going to betray her. Now I can’t believe that I’m never going to hug her or hear her laughter again. I loved her laughter, and that’s what I miss most, that’s what I miss already.”

So, does it matter? Is it meaningful to claim her as one of our own? Is it important to cast light on the specific mental health and substance abuse issues faced by bisexual people? Is it important relative to the complicated history between bisexual celebrities and posthumously published accounts of their allegedly bisexual lives? Is it an important chapter in the conversation about LGBT African-American celebrities specifically?

I always want things to be bigger — to find a way to make a bigger point, reach a universal conclusion, find a way to make pop culture socially relevant. If Whitney Houston had come out as a woman in a lesbian relationship she would’ve been the most famous person to have ever done so. I don’t know if there’s any way to relate to that. She’s so much bigger than anything we’ll ever understand.

FourFour said something in his brief post about Houston’s passing, referencing her drug use specifically, that seemed to perhaps be the only thing there is to say:

To think of anyone’s life as a cautionary tale is condescending (true acceptance includes flaws) and selective. Unless you are model-pretty with the best voice on the planet and have been rewarded for both with international celebrity, Whitney’s complicated story doesn’t apply to you. The best we could ever do was admire it from afar, the worst we could do is reduce it to a one-sentence moral.

 

Avatar of Riese

Riese is the CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1678 articles for us.

88 Comments

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    Its way to early to be going in on this. Respect the dead comes to mind.
    On top of that, even if she was gay… she was still Whitney Houston. And she will always be The Voice.

    With that said; The Preachers Daughter had secrets that weighed heavy on her. Just like anyone else. But because she had the gift (and the curse) we turned her misfortunes into a spectacle. And because she had the money, she ran from the secrets via the drugs.

    I wish we would just allow humans to have peace with who they are from the jump. Wed miss all this other useless dramatic shit going on right now.

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    I guess I’m pretty simple-minded about these things. Whitney Houston died on Saturday. We know she didn’t want to be thought of as lesbian or bisexual, because while she was alive, she told us so repeatedly. We also know that she didn’t want to talk about it anymore, because she told us that too.

    She’s been dead about a week, and already people are using the rumours about her sexuality for their own purposes, turning it into some kind of cautionary tale about the dangers of repressed homosexuality – either using it to make money and sell stories, or for political point-scoring. That is just out of line. And when we KNOW she would have hated being talked about that in this way, it is really out of line.

    Celebrate her achievements, not spread rumours, I say.

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      i wonder if some of it is that people want to go over these lurid details, and places like the daily mail are dying to talk about whitney being a drug addict, and by adding the gay element, it packages the lurid drug addict information in the guise of a social message — like b/c they’re making socially/politically responsible points about how closeting celebrities has dire implications, they can talk about the dire situation without seeming as tacky.

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        I think that you are 100% correct in your wondering.

        I also feel like that old trope about girls with ‘deviant’ sexualities coming to bad ends is being trotted out again to entertain people. A little like one of those old pulp novels. People can read the titillating story of a beautiful woman with ‘unusual’ desires becoming entangled with drugs and addiction. And all the while feeling like it’s ok to be intrigued because there’s a ‘social message’, as you put it.

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      I agree with this. She said it herself so many times. I don’t understand why people don’t believe someone when she speaks about her own identity and her own life. Even if she did have an intimate relationship with Robyn (which is clearly very unconfirmed) that doesn’t mean she identified as gay or bisexual. This is possible! As members of the LGBTQ community we HAVE to respect people’s personal identities and the words they choose to describe themselves.

      “If I was gay, I would be proud to tell you, ’cause I ain’t that kind of girl to say, ‘Naw, that ain’t me.’”

      There you go, question answered.

      I have to say, too, that I find it extremely problematic to claim that she was bisexual (which she always denied) AND THEN say that her drug addiction problems were fueled by her sexuality. I mean…really? I can’t believe this is a thing people are doing. Addiction is complicated. Although I don’t know much of anything about her life, she was a celebrity with an unhappy marriage and I’m sure a LOT of stress in her life. It’s just so much more complicated than that.

      Why don’t we use actual examples of REAL situations where people who are bisexual have substance abuse problems and difficulty accessing assistance to these issues? Wouldn’t that be more productive?

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        Also, I really like this Feministing piece about Whitney Houston. I think you will all probably like it, too:

        http://feministing.com/2012/02/16/whitney-houston-and-moving-beyond-tragic-narratives-for-women/

        “There is a history of documenting and fetishizing the demise of women. It’s part of our celebrity obsessed culture, but it is a unique pressure for women and we love to watch women flounder…[T]here is a lack of appreciation in our culture for just how difficult it is for women in the public eye.”

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          This this this! Great article, I also really liked:

          “every time this happens–it feels like a cautionary tale. When we continually see stories of female success ending as tragedy, there is a subtle narrative that as a woman, you can’t have it all”

          I agree completely with what you wrote above. And I think it’s a credit to Whitney that she chose to support the GLBTIQ community, even though doing so would have only fuelled more rumours about her sexuality.

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      the other thing about this is whitney may have had a relationship with a women, or a few, and not considered herself gay or bisexual or anything. there are so many possibilities, and we’ll never know. why are we speculating?

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    I really appreciate the courage it took to put this together. I don’t think it crossed the line because it leaves the subject just as mysterious as it always has been. If anything, the article reminds us that to sum up something as complex as addiction as truly an ignorant thing. Whether she was secretly battling against her sexuality, as many of us have, or something else inside of her the fact remains one of the greatest talents of our lifetime suffered through a tragic battle with drugs and alcohol. I believe there’s probably some truth to the rumors about her sexuality, but that doesn’t change anything about what she gave the world. Thank you, Riese, for another bold and intriguing article.

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    You know a long tile ago there was something called letting the dead rest in peace and letting family grieve. I see now that it doesn’t exist anymore. The same way that te media was some of the cause of her being hurt emotionally an becoming addicted is cotibuing to happen. She isn’t here to speak for herself, not to mention it’s not our business if she was. Who cares, it doesn’t have anything to do with het craft. Either way, she was the best and she can’t be replaced. Evidently it’s not for us to know, and I surely do wish people would respect her family. For christ sake she had a daughter. These people have feelings just like us, not only that but they are human and have problems and a past. But, it’s called a past for a reason it means move on because it’s old. I’m disturbed that all this crap that has nothing to do with anything is brought up. From lies from “sources” on how she was out of control leadin to her death to now her sexuality. I admit and I’m sure most agree, Bobby brown was he demise and yes she was grown but let’s get real Bobby ruined her and her self esteem..but also the media and tabloids hurt her as well. She is finally with the person she always spoke about in every single interview and that’s god.

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    Sorry to many of the above posters, but I fail to see how discussing any alleged lesbian or bisexual rumours is in any way disrespectful, “not nice”, or problematic. A gay rumour should not be something that is shameful or salacious and how on earth would it interrupt the grieving process of her family? Letting the dead “rest in peace” is a concept that I have never understood. The dead are dead. Nothing we say or do is going to disturb that.

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      I think the disrespect comes in when pulling out these rumors again and again flies in the face of the very things she herself has said repeatedly. She didn’t just say, “my private life is no one’s business but my own.” She didn’t hint, she didn’t hedge, she didn’t laugh it off. She said, “I’m heterosexual”. She admitted that it hurt her that people kept thinking she was lying. If I expect to be respected for coming out as gay, then I’d better the hell respect someone who comes out as straight.

      What’s disrespectful about all of this, at least to me, is that those bringing up these rumors again are doing it for sensational/financial/political means. The Daily Mail wants to sell papers with the biggest, boldest headlines possible. Bobby Brown wants to sell books and matter again. The HRC is supposed to be about equality and respect for all, but Tatchell can’t respect Whitney’s own words and feelings. How the hell would he know when she was at her happiest? When you get right down to it, how the hell would anyone who wasn’t Whitney herself know how she ever truly felt?

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        “If I expect to be respected for coming out as gay, then I’d better the hell respect someone who comes out as straight.”

        This, exactly. How is it different from someone saying “oh, you’re not gay, I don’t believe you” when you come out to them?

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          >How is it different from someone saying “oh, you’re not gay, I don’t believe you” when you come out to them?

          While I agree that this whole discussion is a bit questionable, it is considerably different – saying straight is the choice that keeps you out of trouble, saying gay is the choice that gets you in trouble. Someone who’s gay or bisexual saying that they’re straight has obvious motivation for saying they’re straight, particularly when they’re in the public eye.

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      yes, this is my dilemma — because a part of me also agrees with you that “I fail to see how discussing any alleged lesbian or bisexual rumours is in any way disrespectful, “not nice”, or problematic.” i guess it’s all about the perceived motivations behind the people discussing the rumors.

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        Yeah, it’s really not the content of the rumors that is problematic, it’s the fact that the rumors themselves are not based in any sort of reality or fact. And that people are using these rumors to try to promote some agenda.

        Also, something that I think is missing from this conversation is a discussion of why women can’t be very close friends without people assuming they are intimately or sexually involved. It’s the exact same situation with Oprah and Gayle King and Oprah has said many times that if she were a lesbian she wouldn’t be ashamed of it. She has gotten so frustrated (just as Whitney did) with people not believing her. Friendship is powerful and women can have very strong connections with each other without being sexually involved.

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        Thanks for the reply, Riese. I think you are totally on point, it’s totally about the perceived motivations behind the discussion.

        Having combed all corners of the internet after I first heard of this rumour, it’s pretty astounding how many personal anecdotes and accounts there are, especially regarding her relationship with Robyn. Given the fact that most of these rumours surfaced before the internet even existed, I don’t think it’s ridiculous or out of the realm of possibility that Whitney Houston wasn’t 100% heterosexual.

        And just to address the “I’m heterosexual” statement, Whitney certainly wouldn’t be the first person to publicly deny her own sexuality, especially if she was conflicted about it. If rumours are to be believed, her mother is adamantly anti-gay and allegedly said something about preferring to have a drug addict for a daughter rather than a lesbian.

        I agree that it is not fair to definitively label her one way or another, but having a discussion about her rumoured sexuality is no different than speculating how she died, why she struggled with addiction, etc. It does become problematic when the discussion turns into fetishization, I will agree with that.

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          “And just to address the “I’m heterosexual” statement, Whitney certainly wouldn’t be the first person to publicly deny her own sexuality, especially if she was conflicted about it. If rumours are to be believed, her mother is adamantly anti-gay and allegedly said something about preferring to have a drug addict for a daughter rather than a lesbian.”

          Yes, I agree with this. I mean to be 100% honest, from what I’ve heard from actual humans and what I actually read — and I hadn’t read anything about her sexuality until I started writing this, but I knew of it from what ppl have said — I’m pretty sure that the rumors are at least partially true, and vehemently insisting on her own heterosexuality doesn’t make them less true and it’s not really evidence of the truth so much as it is evidence of what she did or didn’t want us to know or think about. (for the record, i don’t think the oprah/gayle rumors are true).

          In general I can’t imagine anyone could live with their hot lesbian best friend for like fifteen years and never once make out. JUST SAYIN’.

          Also, I think there’s a case to be made that she wanted to protect Robyn. At that time, as Melanie mentions, it’s unlikely she had the words for their relationship. Also, with how famous she was there’s no way on earth she would’ve ever come out, had that been true, that just wasn’t an option. But she didn’t want to ruin Robyn’s life or put Robyn in the spotlight, and a desire to protect someone you love from having their life invaded upon in the way yours is can make a person say some very dramatically definitive things.

          i think in this comment i am doing what i said we’re maybe not supposed to do, but idk! it’s interesting, i guess, from a historical perspective, but maybe that’s because i’m reading a book about the history of secret lesbian life in america right now so things like this are especially fascinating. i guess i feel like it’s ok to discuss here, because we’re all family, but i would feel like a tacky asshole to post this comment on The Daily Mail or anywhere mainstream. But this is like our topic.

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          I have to agree with the statement “there have been many artists in the past that claimed to be straight and were not” Rock Hudson was forced into a marriage of convenience to cover up the fact that he was gay! If you come from a family with strong religious convictions that being gay is a sin, you are hardly going to come out or even allow yourself to be gay/bi in many cases.

          The dead or gone, so, you cannot disturb their peace, however, you might upset the family that was left behind.

          I went to college in NJ. One of my dear friends was a gay women from Newark. She told me she went to the same hairdresser that Whitney went to. She said, everyone at the Salon knew Whitney and Robin were lovers. Is that the truth, I don’t know and never will, however, she seemed to believe it and she even said she has even seen them in a gay club. My question, does it matter now?
          Great article, it raised many interesting points and questions…
          Bottom line, Whitney was an amazing singer, a beautiful , kind, compassionate, loyal friend and trouble soul. RIP Whitney and I hope you find the peace you were so desperately seeking.

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          >and she even said she has even seen them in a gay club.

          While the rumours were certainly heavy, I don’t think being seen in a gay club really means you’re gay. There are at least five times as many straight girls as queer girls at every gay club I’ve been to :(

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          I don’t think it’s as unlikely that one would beard (or should we say, merkin) with a bad boy as some are saying. Of course, Whitney could have been straight and the relationship with Bobby Brown real, but maybe her PR team tricked everybody by turning the usual beard PR game on its head – i.e. instead of it being a happy marriage and kids story that is strategically chronicled in People magazine, it was portrayed as being a messy one.

          I’m not saying that was definitely the case or even that she wasn’t straight. But if you do it that way it’s less ‘safe’ and consequently therefore, less obvious.

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          “i guess i feel like it’s ok to discuss here, because we’re all family, but i would feel like a tacky asshole to post this comment on The Daily Mail or anywhere mainstream. But this is like our topic.”

          I think you summed up my feelings on this pretty spectacularly, actually. This is the kind of conversation that I have in my living room with my friends all the time. The line for me really is when it happens in a giant public court of opinion. It’s human nature to be curious and to speculate, and that’s fine. It just feels irresponsible to me when it’s presented as factual news in something like the Daily Mail.

          Also, now I’m imagining the whole Autostraddle community hanging out in my living room listening to Tegan & Sara and having amazing, in-depth, thoughtful, irreverent conversations about everything. Maybe with some pita chips and hummus. You guys are the best family ever.

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        Yes, bisexuality is not “disrespectful” in and of itself, nor suggesting it, but yes, you want to respect the person and her self-perception.

        It’s probably too soon, and will be up to cultural historians to try to figure out decades from now — i.e, what was Whitney, and what was the moment (the still fairly homophobic 1980′s and early 90′s, when Whitney was a phenomenon as a woman of color herself, reaching the heights that she did, and being a declared bisexual probably would have been 20 pounds too much baggage). The language of the time was a factor too, we don’t know how much or how little she knew about orientation or fluidity, or whether she even wanted to know. Or maybe Robin was just her good friend, and she thought we were all dumb for bringing it up and truly didn’t give a shit.

        But I think the question has the right to be asked at some point down the road, if only to determine if she’s a part of our history. We’re all of us, the queer community included, frankly too self-conscious and embarassed to have a productive conversation about it yet. I think in a few decades when the marriage debates are put to rest and a lot of the homophobia and political activity in response to that homophobia are in the rear view mirror, if friends who loved her then tell us that this was or was not a part of her, then we should listen.
        Of course I’m putting a large deal of faith in their honesty, but it’s all we have.

        Till then, though, I’m just sad for her (or that we’ve lost her). She was one of the most gorgeous and talented people we saw in our time.

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    Natalie, I get what you are saying but when they say letting them rest in peace, yeah they are in the ground dead but Whitney had already addressed it several times. Why not take her word and let it go. She not here to defend herself. It’s not even about the whole gay or bisexual rumor it’s more so RUMORS in general. There is not evidence to any of the rumors. We can only go by what she has said and we should go to websites, blogs or gossip magazines because we all know it’s usually false. I’m more pissed off that they keep talking about the downfall of Whitney or the drug addiction. This is something we all knew and saw and she admitted to..its the past. I understand that they so called want to get to e bottom of how she died but we can’t assume that she was addicted to pain meds when we just don’t know. They are already saying that she wasn’t doctor shopping and everything look legit. They have already said that she didn’t have a large amount of medications in the room the looked out of the ordinary. They already said she visited the doctor for her sore throat and went to dentist. Who says Whitney was addicted, who knows, how do they no that maybe she took the medication and had 1 drink or maybe no drink. The bottom line is stop assuming and starting rumors because this too is what hurt her and caused her so much pain. People didn’t allow her to live and now shes dead and people still won’t let go.. She deserves more than than this. She’s human

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    I wish all closeted actors and musicians had a bobble-head Jenny Schecter to tell them, “BABE, YOU DON’T HAVE TO LISTEN TO ANYTHING HE SAYS. HE’S NOT EVEN A HUMAN BEING. HE’S AN AGENT.”

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    “I am me, I’m a mother. I love to hear my child call me mommy. That’s what I am, not lesbian, not gay, not all the bullshit. I don’t wanna hear that. It’s over. It’s done.”

    As a linguist who studies tenses in languange in helping to determine let’s say for example that someone is LYING based on how they use words in juxtaposition to others in speech,this one is particularily easy.She has a gay past,has a possible bi-sexual present,but is done with it.She has moved on,whether it works for her or not.Not necessarily to her benefit though it would seem.

    When you say It’s done.It’s over.Well that means unequivocally that it was in fact a thing doesn’t it ?

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      I am glad I am not the only one who found this statement interesting. It’s also telling that she prefaces the denial with the fact that she is a mother… not sure how being a mother or having your child call you mommy has anything to do with being gay or not. I take it that she was either desexualizing herself with this statement, or she believed it would not be “right”, for whatever reason, for her to be either gay or bisexual as a mother. Either way it’s a very interesting response.

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      Couldn’t the argument be made that she was referring to having been asked and answered this question countless times already and she’s tired of the same old bullshit? “I don’t wanna hear that. It’s over. It’s done.” Meaning: Enough already! I’ve answered this lets move on!

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    This is no rumer to all of us that saw her & her female lover with our own eyes.
    She never seemed happier!
    The extreme pressure of the baptist church & family would drive anyone back into the closet.
    It would also make most mask the pain with drugs

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      Richard your comment goes to the heart of the matter. Those listed in the article proper claiming to have actually witnessed Whitney/Robyn in loves thrall take this out of the rumor category. Your claim and the other commentators corroborate what was common knowledge. These verification’s were also direct witnessing.

      riese’s brilliant analysis of Whitney’s OUT Magazine interview shows Whitney’s emotional pique to be her own accuser. “I am me, I’m a mother. I love to hear my child call me mommy. That’s what I am, not lesbian, not gay, not all the bullshit. I don’t wanna hear that. It’s over. It’s done.” “Houston’s typical defensiveness suggests, of course, that she hasn’t really moved on at all.” “When I tell her that I believe she’s straight, she retorts, ‘It’s not for you to believe me. I don’t give a shit if you believe me or not.” Pretty out of control. Lot of buttons being pushed. Rabdrake

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    I had no idea about those rumors. Never heard of them. Quite frankly, I don’t care that much either. I really don’t. If she didn’t want to be seen as that or wasn’t bi/whatever at all, so be it. If she was, she could have given mucho visibility. But if she wasn’t bi or didn’t want to admit, okay. Whatever. Her denial of the allegations doesn’t magically change after her death. She’s still Whitney “HOLY SH*T, SAAANG GURL!” Houston.

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    I think people read into things too much..or read into it and determine things to be what they want it to be. I read it as her saying she has answered that question countless times and she’s tired so drop it. Either way, she can’t speak for herself now, she’s answered that question before so we have is her word. Now, I hope no one comes out with a tell all book because she wouldn’t be able to defend herself and what would make their word reliable.

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    I think the very fact that she married Bobby Brown was all the confirmation needed there. This marriage left everyone….even those in the LGBT community scratching their heads and it’s hard to imagine if that wasn’t sign number one. Whitney was a pro at creating the character “Whitney Houston” when she needed to and becoming Nippy from NJ when she was not under lights. This is definately something that needs to be examined as it seems to be the root of many problems shrouded in fake marriages…..

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    I don’t think it should or need to be addressed since she is dead. There’s no point because either way we will never no the real story, even if Robyn herself made a book we still wouldn’t no the truth because the key person is dead. But to add to that, Whitney denied the labels..she never denied having sexual relations. There is a difference..I know plenty of women who have slept with other women and sole who has had relationship with women but yet they don’t identify themselves as bisexual or gay. The thing with sexuality is that it shouldn’t be labeled. You could be a woman who has been with a man their whole life and then when they turn 40 they fall in love with a woman. Love is love there shouldn’t be a label because for many they simply fall in love with the same sex but then could easily be with the opposite. I think if we take those labels away and let people just live ten maybe everything would be open. People have to also realize that she not only grew up in the church, but back when she was out being gay wasn’t something that was accepted like it is today. Back then, it could have killed her career; Now, it could boost a career. I really don’t want to talk about this subject or anything considered negative in her past because it doesn’t define who she was and it doesn’t have anything to do with us losing her, but I will say that she did look happy before Bobby and when Robyn was in the picture. To expand on that, her and Robyn probably didn’t define what they had, but just loved each other and actually had a true friendship and probably sexual relationship. You can tell it was something special there because we haven’t heard Robyn speak about Whitney until now which shows loyalty. Look at all of these supposedly sources coming out with all this nonsense. Robyn could have easily written a book when Whitney was here but she has kept quiet. Whatever they had it was definitely special. I don’t know, but all I can say is I’m so sad as if I knew her because she had a light in her eyes that I have never seen any singer have and you could tell that god and faith was so important to her. There was something special about this lady that I can’t express or even quite put my finger on. I’ve been in tears since it was announced that she died

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      Great point! I have a friend who is married to a women and one of the partners says she is gay and the other says I am just me, a human being. Many women have bi relationships in college but do not consider themselves gay or bi.
      Hopefully some day we can be rid of labels and just be able to love!
      RIP beautiful sister!

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    I am not far from whitney’s age. When she was not famous yet, i was working in a fast food place in newark,nj. Once there were girls who were friends of the employees there and they were trying to explain who whitneys mom was to me ( i’m white and not from newark) so they could explain how her daughter was a great singer in the choir and gay. They werent trying to smear whitney, they were gossiping about her from the point of view of kids who knew a famous person’s daughter. Then they mentioned dionne warwick, who i thought was a great talent, and i made that connection. So hearing this about whitney stuck in my head. Then when she burst onto the world on her own, i wondered how shed reconcile this with the image they had manufactured for her. Now we all have seen how. Many years i thought that whitneys woes may have eased a bit if only being gay and that 80′s reagan-era nice girl image had a place in the world then to mix. I wasnt aware that people had dogged her about her sexual identity (i wasnt sure anyone knew because i had heard it in such an intimate pre-fame right-place-at-the-right-time kind of way) but i always assumed she married the baddest jack@$$ so she could appear as straight as possible. Turns out Whitney denied being a bisexual or a lesbian quite a bit, i just hadnt heard it. When her career started that was the way the world was. People still dont want to hear that about their whitney even though times are changed a bit, so how could she have told it or lived it? Anyway, whitney may have wanted to paint her image squeeky hetero clean, and she was the one who had to live and die with that choice. Now she is gone and history is to be written. The image is now only a facet of her life and we dont need to to keep tending clive davis’ vision of whitney to soothe the record-buying public anymore. A lot is to be learned by watching whitney after she married bobby, and some of it has to be about living a lie so you can sacrifice yourself wholly to the demands of your public- and what bigotry can do to a person. Whitney broke many barriers for black women but still suffered the worst bigotry this nation has to offer- antigay bigotry. She had to choose between megastardom and her genuine life. In the beginning this was an easy choice, but a choice like that wears on a person after years and years of money and power and no genuine life. Its hard to envision now whitneys 1985 world, but imagine reagan-era, aids was new and put aside by the president (it was cosidered GRID gay related immune deficiency, so why care), there was no internet to help find anyone like yourself, no one on tv or in the media was ever gay, WWII was only about 40 yrs before and the nazis had wiped out the gays and no one cared or talked about it in a shocked way, stonewall had happened but all gays were painted as disgusting genderbending lecherous child molesters, violence against gay people was the natural response ( beat the gay man back to manliness, and rape was the way to straighten out lesbians) etc etc. As unfair as it still is in the 2k’s, the 1900′s were hellish to the end for gays. There were people chipping away at the edges of it all politically and socially, but not enough to make an impact until beyond the post-internet times. These things are all our history, if we all have spent more than a $1 on whitneys empire then we are all a part of her story, and she a part of ours. If people are interested in whitney at all, they should not put pieces of her life aside out of the desire to feel comfortable with her story. Whineys story is magnificent and uncomfortable and may have lessons for current and future generations if nothing is left out. For whitney, she shone bright but it didnt get better.

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    All this whole story does for me after watching the funeral (which was beautiful) is be reminded how much damage the Black Churches do every day. If you google the Winans or Donnie McClurkin or even Tyler Perry, they all have complex gay angles in their world whereas what Jesus taught was so simple and not reflected in how Black Churches minister. The Black Church needs to move beyond this for the sake of all Black LGBT individuals in pain. I don’t know about Whitney. I do know a lot of people who are gay and black and extremely complex in how they deal with it. Their boundaries are really screwed up. It’s quite believable that Whitney was able to be bisexual while using words to describe someone completely different. I have friends who do it every day. All I know is that Whitney had the most wonderful way of interpreting a song and her songs were there through all of my life. I always steered clear of any of the negative media cause she was precious to me. I hope she’s at Peace – and I hope she comes back and sings for us again as whoever she wants to be.

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    What OurBiNation said really squicks me out–expressing disdain over the fact that the word “bisexual” was not used in the Our Daily Nation article. For all we know, Whitney Houston could have actually been straight (she consistently said she was, after all, though she could have easily been lying for a number of understandable reasons). Also, for all we know, she could have been a lesbian. Sexuality isn’t just about who you sleep with. How many lesbians out there have slept with men? Does that mean they’re actually bisexual? No–because it isn’t JUST about who you sleep with. It’s about who you’re emotionally attracted to as well.

    I mean, hell, I could go out tomorrow and sleep with a guy. I might even enjoy it. But unless I’m emotionally attracted to him, unless I have the capacity to feel the same way about him as I do about a woman, I will not even begin considering myself to be bisexual. I think it’s an affront to bisexuals to do so, actually.

    This is one of those situations where the label itself shouldn’t matter. It’s more of a “straight vs. not straight” question, rather than “straight vs. bisexual” or “straight vs. lesbian.”

    As for wondering about her orientation in general, following her death…I see no issue with it, especially considering this article is clearly not fetishizing anything. Addiction IS a complex thing, and while Whitney Houston could have been one of the many queer people to struggle with drug abuse due to internalized homophobia, she could also have been struggling with drug abuse for other reasons that had nothing to do with her sexuality at all. So while I think it’s all right to talk about, at the end of the day, it seems like sort of a moot point to debate. We’ll never know, because she’s no longer here to continue to say she’s straight, or to say she was lying the entire time. Everything we here is going to be a second-, or third-, or fourth-hand account.

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    I dated a girl for a pretty substantial period of time; she had no qualms with telling (most) people about our relationship (eventually), or with public displays of affection, but she made it clear that she was strictly heterosexual and would not waver from that label, at all. It upset her when people called her differently. Her love for me was romantic, I know, yet she strictly attested to not even being bisexual, but straight. (And yes, it did bother me.) I don’t even think she even believed in the label ‘bisexual’, she thought one had to have a preference.

    Is it true she’s straight? Hell, I don’t know. I was her girlfriend, and did I believe her? .. Okay, well, truth be told, not really. I believed she liked guys, but I also believed she had a soft spot for girls she did not want to admit to herself, even though she was with me. And she would never, never admit it. /Well, I’m not gay or anything/, she would huff. /I just like –. You don’t understand./. It actually made me really self-conscious, and I didn’t want to believe it.

    Anyway, this article reminded me of my situation. And how I feel sorry for Robyn, if it’s the case. I think it would be awful if you were with someone and they became famous, and I also think that being famous would provide more incentive to hide any controversial sexual feelings. -shrug-

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    Riese, I think you approached a very sensitive subject with the utmost tact in this article. I personally did not find it offensive to Whitney or her memory; I felt that it was thought provoking about issues relevant to our community above and beyond just her own personal life.

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    I only think it’s a tad disrespectful because she simply answered the question many times. Now it may not be the truth or the answer you want to hear but she answered. It’s ridiculous to keep rehashing something that has been answered. Just think about a rumor started by someone about you and they ask you and you give them a answer on many occasions..it would get on your nerves and you would somewhat feel disrespected simply because you said you peace and someone keeps asking..it’s like she’s not giving an answer that people wanted but at the same time if she would have said yes then she most likely wouldn’t have sung that beautiful national antem and she surely wouldn’t have sold over 200 million records. So either way she’s in a no win situation. But what I will say is these titles need to go away. Like me, I have been with woman and I’ve been with one man. I find men attractive and I’ll date one if I found one I like enough. I love women more and get emotionally attached to them more but at the end of the day I LOVE. I don’t consider myself gay or bisexual I’m just me. I could def. see Whitney being with Robyn and them being in a relationship but not defining herself with that title..now if everyone pay attention to ms houstons words..she said she’s not a lesbian or gay. She said her and Robyn are not in a relationship..she never said she didn’t sleep with Robyn. They could have easily slept together and loved each other and been friends but never was in a relationship. Based on what the rumors were, Robyn so called got mad when whitney was with Bobby or interacted with other men. They could have easily did their thing and not have a title to what they had. And they still maintained their friendship I believe. If you go back and watch that oprah interview in 2009 she said when she left Bobby she stayed with a friend an the friend would never allow Bobby to come there or he would get shot. She never said the friends name but how she said it made it seem like she didn’t want to reveal the name because I’m sure that would have stirred up rumors once again. And honestly, I don’t think this caused the drugs. It might have been apart of her struggles and hurt but not the sole reason. If you go back and look at all of her interviews it’s obvious that she was hurt, felt alone and gave so much to people that she couldn’t take care of herself. If you watch the oprah interview she revealed that she wanted to be normal. With Bobby she admitted he was emotionally abusive and he spit on her and she had to downplay her success because he was jealous and wanted him to feel like a man. She used drugs because she felt alone, stress, she wanted everyone to like her..the media is part of the reason why she became addicted. This was a hurt woman. I KNOW that this lady is lucky to be with god now

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    So This doesn’t have anything to do with her being gay but I just had to write about this because I found it so heartbreaking and a key to what Whitney felt on the inside..I was watching the special tributevto Whitney on BET an they had many of her friends talking about who she was and her good friend Kim Burrell(who sung beautifully at the funeral) spoke about her as a person..she told a story about how Whitney was getting hair and makeup done for a show and her feet were tired and she asked someone from her entourage to massage her feet and they basically replied they didn’t feel like it and left, so Kim grabbe the lotion and said I’ll do it, don’t do my friend like that in a joking way. As she rubbed and massaged whitney’s feet Whitney relaxed and put her head back and Kim looked up and tears flowed down her face. Kim asked her why she was crying and Whitney replied..because you love me..she wanted and needed what we all need and that’s love..and the so many people who worshiped her turned their backs the minute she did what all of us do which is make a mistake..this was a lady in pain. This brought tears to my eyes

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    This kind of reminds me of the advice my mother gave me when she found out I was bisexual. That nobody can label you. And if I slept with a girl in college it didn’t mean I was anything but human and loved to be touched. She doesn’t approve of me liking girls so I guess it was the best she could up with. If Whitney said she was not bisexual or lesbian etc. after she had this long alleged relationship with a woman then maybe she wasn’t. Hell maybe she tried it for fun…maybe she hated it…maybe she loved it. It doesn’t matter. And the fact that she married Bobby proves nothing to discredit her heterosexual. I think some people don’t give Whitney enough credit. Maybe she really loved Bobby. And him being a guy and Robyn being a girl aren’t really important. To the happiness of her marriage. Basically it just seems that people assume she was happiest with Robyn but pictures tell lies. Maybe she was healthier with her…but happy is an indiviual thing.

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    “Wear my clothes just like a fan. Talk to the gals just like any old man.” Ma Rainey “Prove It on me Blues” 1928.” The clothing contrast in the above photo of Whitney (seated left) and Robin (standng right) is dispositive. Robin appears as a softly stylized B. D. Woman; right down to the shoes! Rabdrake

    riese, Major props – WOW What a post.

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    Though I don’t believe half of these stories, one of her supposedly drivers said the Robyn story is true and that one night after a party Bobby and Whitney engaged in a threesome in the backseat of the limo. I find some of these stories to be so out there and random. I wouldn’t say she was at her happiest with Robyn because we just don’t know what the deal was. But I will say they did look like they admired each other. I loved Whitney and she was my fav singer of all time and I think she was simply the best. Though we can’t place blame on Bobby for Whitney addiction, we all know that he brought her down. There was a number of combinations to drive her to drugs..the fame and her not being able to live a normal life without all the tabloid lies plus she was in a emotional abusive relationship with bobby and he was jealous..and if the gay rumor was true that’s just another thing added on the list. Simply put, the woman couldn’t live her life. She wanted love. Real love. She took care of people too much and didn’t take care of herself. Back to the gay thing, if you ho back and look at some her pics she was def a tomboy. She wore hates sometimes baggy clothes and sneakers..but at the same time she looked normal. You can’t judge anyone based on the way they dress but sometimes it’s a little obvious. Either way, gay or not she was great

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    Okay. Now. As a black gay lady that grew up in the 90′s and was practically in love with Whitney Houston…I think it’s one of those things where people either want it to happen so badly they just make up ridiculous shit to make it happen. Kind of like Alicia Keys.

    I remember when I was ten and just realizing what being gay was and was jumping at any mentions of any black female celebrities being gay. I remember being desperate for a single person that I could relate to. The closest I got was RuPaul. I mean. I love that diva. But…ya know not exactly the greatest for a lesbian. So yeah. I can totally understand people wanting to question it. But after she said, “I’m not. But if I were I wouldn’t have a problem with it.”, A) I felt like I could eventually come out to my family. B) I loved her even more. Both of those were because it was the first time I had heard a black person say something positive about homosexuality.

    I’m over the speculation of whether or not she was bi. I’m over Bobby Brown thinking that he thought Whitney married him to improve her image….because she was doing SO horribly without him with those seven consecutive hits and all. But most importantly I’m over people calling her the druggie washed up artist. Because if those are the only things that you got out of Whitney, then you never really got Whitney.

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    Jay, I agree..there’s no point in even discussing it when the lady has said numerous of times that she wasn’t. It’s understandable to hide it back then because she was not only black but the biggest pop star meaning any little mess up and she would have been done. And yeah, Bobby cleaning someones image up is ridiculous on all levels for the simple fact he was as dirty as they came and was known for being out of control drinking and drugs before Whitney..now people want to say Whitney was hard on drugs vetoer Bobby..she specifically said on oprah when she started and she specifically said she damn sure wasn’t getting high alone because they Did it together. I could see her getting with him because she fell for him and she didn’t want that at title placed on her but not strikely because she was gay and needed a plan..that’s just insane to me. People love to talk about her addiction but that’s one thing that was negative. Look at all the good. She was so drugged up that she sold over 200 million records and has broken records for days..at least when she was getting high she was doing her job and doing it damn well. Now, I am too one of those people who would have love yo know that she was gay or bi but I’m not the one to reach with all these ridiculous stories just to attempt to make a point..there is no point nor a conclusion to any of this. We have to take her word and let it go already because she’s not here to answer for the millionth time. Even if she was here and she did finally admit, she would still be screwed and ridiculed for ages..she was in a no win situation. I just find it funny that people hide behind their computer screens and talk crap and judge based solely on tabloids rather than have facts. No one knows the truth about her sexuality or her life in general. Even if someone writes a book I’ll buy it just to read the nonsense but I still wouldn’t believe it because she’s not here to defend herself

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    Thank you for writing about this with such sensitivity and clearly stating all facts, motivations, etc. I grew up with Whitney Houston’s music and just loved her. From my point of view, it is not disrespectful at all to acknowledge what so many people who have followed her guessed, wondered or even knew. And Robyn’s sweet obit confirmed for me their love.(Regardless of sexuality- it was love) Especially the part about how she would “never betray her.” Whitney could not have been a huge star if she were an out lesbian in the 1990′s and how do any of us know what we would have done in her shoes? Part of my celebrating her is to celebrate all of her, her music and her loves.

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    I’m still mourning her and still can’t believe she’s gone. Do I think her and Robyn were a full out couple..I’m not sure but was they seem to have is some sort of special relationship..it’s very possible that they were best friends who were in love with each other and probably were sexual, but knew that it couldn’t be a full out long term relationship because simple as this, she wouldn’t be the whitney Houston we know of. It wasn’t accepted at all then. Was Bobby brown just a set up to get approval, absolutely not Why would this be a set up when everyone knew Bobby was horrible..what I think it all boils down to is acceptance. She wanted to be accepted and loved and just like the world usually does..they turned their backs on her, from tabloid rumors after another. Who wouldn’t be bothered by that. Whitney also stated that she could see why people accused her of being gay because she had gay friends. She said also that she loves everyone and wouldn’t stop being a persons friend over that. It’s the same interview where she stated that she’s a mother not a lesbian. If you look at all of her quotes she said she’s not gay or lesbian. There are many people who don’t go by labels and I think this is the case.

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    It’s simple..none of us know, it’s alleged..we can all speculate and come up with our on conclusions. Is it appropriate to bring this stuff up in the wake of her death, no. I think all of this talk should just go away, that’s unless one of her alleged lovers or Robyn herself comes forward in her own words with the TRUTH. If that happened then that would be the time to evaluate the situation in regards of her struggles with this. If no one comes forward then it should be left alone since she grew irritated about these constant questions and accusations about her sexuality. In my opinion just looking at all of the quotes from ms Houston, she simply didn’t go by titles. She said she wasn’t a lesbian or gay , but she did say she loves everyone. I think her and Robyn wasn’t exclusive. They most likely had a really close friendship like best friends..who loved each other, had sex and acted like a couple in their own space, but knew that Whitney liked men also and that their relationship couldn’t be public because of her house hold name and fame. That’s true, if Whitney would have came out then there is no way that she would have sold all of those records and won all of those awards. I guarantee even though Robyn no longer worked for her they still had a bond and kept in touch. There are so many out there that consider themselves heterosexual but have engaged in gay relationships. I can name on both of my hands how many straight women who have came on to me and never had a sexual relationship with another female but found me attractive or different so they were willing to be with me and only me. My ex girlfriend and I were together for 5 years and that was my first girl and I was her first..we broke up and now she’s married to a man..she simply told me years later that she wasn’t gay she just simply fell in love with me and still to this day has never loved anyone else like she loved me. I think we should just bury this rumor until some legit comes forward until then it’s almost irrelevant because this one only one of whitney’s many problems.

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    Anna-Lynn, but the FACT is people are coming forward to witness that they saw Whitney/Robyn together, billing and cooing, as lovers. A soft-butch and a tomboy-femme living together for 15 years! As far Whitney is concerned, sounds pretty Bi-what-you-may-call-it to me. Rabdrake

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    I agree, whitney just loved. Simple as that. It might not have been that easy to interpret back then because if you liked or loved the same sex then you were pretty much flat out gay, now if you love the same sex it’s understandable to not use a title because you just don’t know how life will unfold. It’s obvious what they shared without even saying it

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    I am really sad Whitney ended up this way. There have been other female singers who have become addicted to alcohol and drugs who were lesbian/bisexual and, perhaps, had difficulties dealing with this. For example Dusty Springfield, Janis Joplin. Have a look at this video I just made about a young lesbian I supported a few years ago; she used alcohol to try to make herself straight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8WeW-Fdwyk

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    Paula, but she did talk about it, often.

    “In May 2000, Whitney Houston appeared on the cover of OUT Magazine, another bold statement for an actress dogged by lesbian rumors. In addition to, I hope, covering her AIDS-related organization charity work, the article dug into her sexuality again:
    ‘That ain’t me, I know what I am, I’m a mother. I’m a woman. I’m heterosexual. Period. But I love everybody. If I was gay, I would be proud to tell you, ’cause I ain’t that kind of girl to say, “Naw, that ain’t me.” The thing that hurt me most was that they tried to pin something on me that I was not. My mother raised me to never, ever, be ashamed of what I am. But I’m not a lesbian, darling, I’m not.” Later in the story:
    ‘I am me, I’m a mother. I love to hear my child call me mommy. That’s what I am, not lesbian, not gay, not all the bullshit. I don’t wanna hear that. It’s over. It’s done.”
    “Houston’s typical defensiveness suggests, of course, that she hasn’t really moved on at all. When I tell her that I believe she’s straight, she retorts, ‘It’s not for you to believe me. I don’t give a shit if you believe me or not.”

    Interesting how she never expressly denied the bisexuality. The closest she came was an implied denial. “That’s what I am, not lesbian, not gay, not all the bullshit. I don’t wanna hear that. It’s over. It’s done.”

    It’s the silence and the collusion in denying her same-sex relationship that sends a wrong message. To those LGBTQ youth suffering from the bullying, the message should be It Gets Better. Not a message implying stay in the closet even after you’re dead.

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    Ralph, I think you hit it right on the money with saying she didn’t say she was bisexual. But another thing is if you read it again she list what she is..I’m me, I’m a mother..it’s so obvious like many she doesn’t like the titles. How can you label your self gay or bisexual when you are just living and loving. There shouldn’t be any title at all when you simply love and don’t know what tomorrow will be..titles…that’s what I think the moral of the story should be which is love is love and there isn’t or shouldn’t be a title when it comes to love, which in return the bullying and even acceptance and the whole coming out process would be more accepting and easier. When I so called came out to my family, I didn’t say I was gay or bi, I simply said that I was with a woman..I’m me and I still stick with that.

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    Natalie, thanks for the feedback. I find your description of coming out to your parents to be wonderful.
    In the face of rumors spanning decades Whitney Houston persistently denied and/or evaded the question of her bisexuality. Denial as a defense mechanism is not lying. The person genuinely believes that she is being truthful. Even in the face of the obvious contradiction of independent facts, e.g witness testimony.
    Alfred Kinsey in his “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male” (1948) and “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female” (1953)had to tackle the problem of the palpable denial of same-sex conduct. Kinsey’s pains-taking design of his study forbade his interviewers from stating their own opinions, save for same-sex conduct. The person being questioned was asked to rate themselves on the 0 to 6 Kinsey Scale (K) (Zero being exclusive heterosexual conduct and six being exclusive homosexual conduct). In this startling instance, the opinion of interviewer was required. The interviewer was to give his own opinion, rating the person questioned on the K Scale.
    The “Queen of Denial” was the late and great Rock Hudson. His persistent denials kept up even unto his death from AIDS. Laura Nyro refused to come out until her obituary announcement.
    Almost every one gay, straight or bi is amazed when I venture the facts of Whitney Houston’s bisexuality. The press has done a perfect job in stone-walling the facts.
    Currently, Robyn Crawford is being touted as Whitney Houston’s “special friend.” Kinsey’s photographer, C. A. Tripp, wrote a masterful book called the “Homosexual Matrix.” In the book he cites the “Special friend as one of the common denial forms of homosexuality. I say to all, please for our youth, especially those questioning, we should be celebrating her bisexuality not covering it up. Rabdrake

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    Alicia, major props being the “first out lesbian in America to host a prime time, daily, commercial talk radio show, in Atlanta, Georgia from 1989 until 1996.”

    Loved the poem, speaking of an Angelic voice:

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    I have ambiguous feelings about this as well. To me, with an outsider’s eye, it looks as though she was probably some variety of queer, and had a very powerful relationship with her best friend and assistant. And for a wide variety of reasons, including homophobic rumors and pressure from people who had a vested interest in helping her maintain a hetero image, she married a guy and tried very hard to be happy with him.

    She wasn’t, again for a lot of reasons.

    Her sexuality is closed to us, really. She denied or half-denied it repeatedly, and part of me wants to say “okay, I believe you.” Only I don’t, not really.

    I think she probably was one of us; it’s a classic story, one that’s far far too common, and I don’t think it’s disrespectful to say so. But of course, from me, this isn’t an insult; it isn’t muckraking; it’s a compassionate look at a hard life, and that’s all. I’m not going to go around pretending that what I think I see is the reality of the situation.

    One very important point, though, that I think is getting overlooked: whatever the reality of her sexual orientation and identity, whatever the relationship with her best friend really was, homophobia drove her into what turned out to be a disastrous marriage. She got married at least partly to dispel rumors of lesbianism… whether she was queer or just perceived as queer, she was the victim of homophobia. I think we could emphasize that without doing her memory one bit of harm. Was she straight? Well, homophobia can hurt straight people too.

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    Although God says Love one another without judging”, Whitney not only suffered with her sexuality; but her Christianity as well. A sin is a sin, but I do believe the public had little to do with her decisions. Her spiritual connection with God was also in jeopardy. I guess it’s hard fighting your sexual preferences, drugs & alcohol to numb the pain, and your faith. A brave battle that she fought, yet lost. God Bless you Whitney!

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