A student group has accused the late Lou Reed’s hit ‘Take A Walk on the Wild Side’ of containing transphobic lyrics.
This has stunned friends and collaborators of the late singer, who have called the accusations ‘completely ridiculous’.
The Guelph Central Student Association in Ontario, Canada, issued an apology for including the song on a playlist at a campus event.
‘It’s come to our attention that the playlist we had on during bus pass distribution on Thursday contained a song with transphobic lyrics (Lou Reed, ‘Take a Walk on the Wild Side’),’ the statement read, as reported by MRCTV.
‘We now know the lyrics to this song are hurtful to our friends in the trans community and we’d like to unreservedly apologize for this error in judgement.’
The statement has since been deleted from Facebook. It is reported no one made an official complaint about the song being included on the playlist.
The lyrics were supposedly ‘problematic’ because they ‘dehumanize’ and fetish’ trans people by suggesting they are ‘wild’.
‘While we acknowledge that the song was written with certain purpose and intention, we would also emphasise that media is not always consumed in the ways that it was intended,’ they concluded.
Inspired by Andy Warhol muse and trans woman Holly Woodlawn, the opening lyrics read:
Holly came from Miami F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side,
‘Lou was open about his complete acceptance of all creatures of the night,’ Jenni Muldaur, a friend of Reed, told the Guardian.
‘That’s what that song’s about. Everyone doing their thing, taking a walk on the wild side. I can’t imagine how anyone could conceive of that. The album was called Transformer. What do they think it’s about?’
Hal Wilner, Reed’s longtime producer, added: ‘I don’t know if Lou would be cracking up at this or crying because it’s just too stupid. The song was a love song to all the people he knew and to New York City by a man who supported the community and the city his whole life.’