Walk on the Wild Side

Is Walk on the Wild Side transphobic? Student group issues apology after playing Lou Reed song
A Canadian student association has published an apology after a playing the Lou Reed song Walk on the Wild Side during a university event.

The student group needs to issue an apology to the ghost of Lou Reed. There was nothing transphobic about the lyrics and if they had bothered to contextualize the lyrics in the song, it’s time and Lou Reeds life they would recognize their error.

This isn’t “political correctness”, this is abject ignorance. Holly (the trans woman mentioned in the song) is Holly Woodlawn, one of Warhol’s “superstars” and star of many of his films. Candy (who “came from out on the island”) was Candy Darling, another trans superstar. The world of The Factory, which Lou was part of, celebrated gender fluidity before that was a word. Reed himself was in a long-term relationship with Rachel, a trans woman who was the muse for much of his 70s songs and is featured on the cover of at least one of his albums.

History didn’t start the day you were “woke”, you little prats. Take a moment away from SnapBat or InstaFriend and read about the fucking world, not just your world, and learn a thing or two. Here’s a good idea; “Google it” before you run off at the mouth.

Lou Reed’s parents tried to “cure” his homosexual tendencies with electroshock therapy three times a week. 

This is documented in his song ‘Kill Your Sons’: “All your two-bit psychiatrists / Are giving you electroshock / They said they’d let you live at home with mom and dad / Instead of mental hospitals / But every time you tried to read a book / You couldn’t get to page seventeen / Cos you forgot where you were / So you couldn’t even read.”

Walk On the Wild Side
Lou Reed
Walk On the Wild Side

Lou Reed | ‘Walk on the Wild Side' 

Produced by David Bowie, the lyrics, describing a series of individuals and their journeys to New York City, refer to several of the regular “superstars” at Andy Warhol’s New York studio, The Factory;  namely Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, Joe Dallesandro, Jackie Curtis and Joe Campbell (referred to in the song by his nickname Sugar Plum Fairy).