What an awful waste of life. Whitney Houston had talent, fame and
money - not to mention a whole heap of love. So it was with great
sadness that I learned of her death at the weekend. Watching
Jennifer Hudson's tribute performance of I Will Always Love you at
the Grammy's on Sunday reminded me precisely why Whitney was so
special. No one could sing like Whitney. Not even Whitney, towards
Amid the widespread media coverage following the star's death, I
was astonished to see veteran queer rights campaigner Peter
Tatchell posthumously out her. PinkPaper.com reports that Tatchell
took to Facebook to pay his respects to Whitney, including
reference to an alleged lesbian relationship: "Whitney Houston RIP.
She was happiest and at her peak in the 1980s, when she was with
her female partner. They were so loved up and joyful together." He
added: "It's important to tell the truth about this aspect of her
life. Colluding with the cover-up of her same-sex relationship is
I've got mixed feelings about Tatchell's comments. If Whitney
was indeed bisexual, it would be wrong for history to gloss over
this. That said, she had a right to privacy. And she's only just
passed away, so this is not the same as "reclaiming" famous queer
people from centuries ago.
One of the more titillating aspects of writing for a lesbian and
bisexual magazine is finding out all the famous women who hide
their sexuality from the public. From Olympic athletes to chart
topping musicians, there's plenty of them. Do they need to die
before we can celebrate their sexual diversity?
It seems that lesbian mums Anna Jones and Kirsty Cox, whom I
reported on last month, have been doing the media rounds. Not
content with appearing in the Mirror, the parental duo have now
turned up in - wait for it - the Daily Mail. In a fairly positive
story. About lesbians. In the Daily Mail. And if the DM's use of
"Lesbian lovers" was a bit tacky, well, I won't mention it. We all
like a little alliteration, sometimes. And if the DM's quotation
marks around "married" is a little patronising, what can you do
about it? And if the comments section is full of hateful nonsense -
"That's wonderful! Two more children for the taxpayer to bring up.
I hope the sperm donor is paying child support" - then who am I to
complain? As my grandma used to say, it's better than a kick in the
teeth. And it's not like the Daily Mail hasn't given us one of
Did you catch me on the telly last week? I dropped in to BBC
Breakfast for a cosy chat with Sian Williams and Bill Turnbull
about making the world a better place for trans people. Ten year
old Livvy James and her mum also appeared, to discuss their
campaign to remove transphobic language in newspaper headlines.
(Think: "tranny", "shemale" and "sex-swap"). Livvy's an amazing
young girl. I wish I'd had the family support she enjoys as a child
and I hope that, in future, more trans kids will find their parents
a source of support rather than hostility.
Later that day, TMW gave evidence at the Leveson Inquiry into
press standards. Our evidence focused on how the press turn
innocent people's lives upside down. Many of the case studies we
included have been redacted from public view, to protect the
identity of vulnerable trans people. Children trapped in their
homes by press camped on their doorstep? Just one of many vile
accounts we collected.
Well, the game is finally changing. More and more people are
hearing the new narrative on trans, the one in which trans people
speak for ourselves. It's about time.
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