Whitney Houston in 2009

British LGBT activist Peter Tatchell has come under fire for reviving rumours that the late Whitney Houston had a lesbian affair with her assistant Robyn Crawford.

Tatchell made the claims on Facebook following the tragic death of the 48-year-old star in a Beverly Hills hotel room on Saturday.

“Whitney Houston RIP. She was happiest & at her peak with her female partner in the 1980s. They were so joyful together,” wrote Tatchell.

“I met them at the Reach Out & Touch HIV rally in London in 1991, organised by Vernal Scott. Whitney spoke very movingly; supporting the welfare & human rights of people with HIV, when many other stars kept their distance.”

He also suggested that her attempts to cover up her bisexuality led in part to her downfall.

“She was pressured into the Bobby Brown marriage. Disaster. Her life started going downhill soon afterwards. Whitney’s death is a great tragedy,” said Tatchell.

Some commentators on Facebook angrily accused Tatchell of exploiting Houston’s death to make some kind of political statement.

“This is really poor taste, her sexuality is not the issue, whilst her body is still warm. Shame Shame Shame on you!” said one man, while another added “Altogether in extremely poor taste. It was up to Whitney herself during her lifetime to let the world know who she was”.

Tatchell defended himself by saying: “Since when it is wrong to tell the truth? There is nothing shameful about being lesbian or bisexual. Covering up and misrepresenting a person’s life is surely the real wrong?”

The rumoured affair between Houston and Crawford, whom the star called the “sister I never had,” was addressed by the singer in a 1987 interview with Time magazine.

“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,” she said.

Houston’s ex-husband, Bobby Brown, commented on the allegations about the affair in his 2008 autobiography Bobby Brown: The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But.

“The media was accusing her of having a bisexual relationship with her assistant, Robin 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,” said Brown.

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