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Remembering Whitney Houston: The Quiet Curse of the Homophobic Mother

By       Message Dr. Cheryl Pappas       (Page 1 of 5 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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As the Grammy Awards approach this February 10, 2013, we hark back one year to the mournful anniversary of Whitney Houston's death.

Here I offer my own speculation about both her life and her death.

I am cautious in my opinion-giving to use the word, "speculation", because, unless you were there, 24/7 in a person's life, that's all there is: theory and hypothesis.

However, after years of being a therapist and dealing professionally with women under attack by their own mothers for being gay, there is a well-known blueprint that is impossible not to recognize, even from afar.

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In Whitney Houston's case, Oprah Winfrey's recent interview on OWN Network with homophobic mother, Cissy Houston, provides the caulking and grout that brings together the tragic mosaic of Whitney's public suicide; her aggressive self-destruction that was excruciating and baffling to view as it unfolded.

There is no doubt that Cissy Houston refused to accept and love her daughter if she had a gay lifestyle.

Whitney desperately wanted her mother's approval and love.

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This is no secret.

She revered her mother, and spoke reverently of her in every interview that was substantial.

At the same time, she was increasingly presented in a drugged blur, destroying her health, body, and even demolishing her voice, her brilliant talent.

Psychologically, rage and pain underline these behaviors.


Cissy was adamant with Oprah that she would not condone Whitney as a gay person.

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"Absolutely no." Cissy replied to Oprah's question about whether she would have accepted Whitney if she had been gay.

So where does a fragile young woman go, one who desperately needs parental approval, when it is withheld?

Many gay people choose to deny the reality of who they are, push it back, even marry, as a way of clinging to an acceptable public identity, avoiding public scorn, and sustaining a mother's love.

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I am a writer, media analyst, and psychotherapist. I'm interested in comedy, satire, politics, entertainment, pop culture, and business; exposing how the media powerfully spins the news we hear, and how this spin creates our feeling states and (more...)

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