Walk On The Wild Side

There’s this story going around about a student union at a Canadian college apologizing for playing Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side at an event. It’s being put forward as another example of leftist PC culture gone awry. Please don’t buy into it. Nobody is censoring Lou Reed.

The real worry is the way the alt-right uses something like this to divide us and further isolate the trans community from support. The right works very hard to encourage radical feminists, for instance, in their assault on trans people. And if the crazy trans people are attacking saint Lou, screw them! The headline does the job and the nuances of the topic are lost.

My first thought when I saw this was irritation at the younger generation for attacking what for some of us may as well be a liberation anthem that encouraged us to come out as well as immortalized Holly Woodlawn who should be on a postage stamp as far as I’m concerned. I’m 100% positive I shaved my legs listening to that song. It’s canon. When I was asked to do a page in the Queer Heroes Coloring Book she was my choice and the lyrics are right there in the picture.

A lot of the language in the song is out of date, of course, and I think it’s similar to older trans people using the word “tranny” and getting blowback from younger more “woke” folks. The idea that being with a trans woman is a walk on the wild side is indeed discomforting now, as is the casual “he was a she” line which kind of goes against current thinking.

What this song means to ME is different from what it means to a young person, and for that matter what it means to a transphobic bigot who finds things in the song that support their view of us as subhuman freaks. But that’s the deal with art, of course. It’s available to all to use and appropriate and you can’t control what the bad guys do with it. Ask Richard Wagner about that.

Mostly, I say cut them some slack, they are working it out. College campuses get a lot of grief for leftist PC censorship, but they are also currently cesspools of toxic 4chan masculinity and vicious transmisogyny and when we tell these kids to toughen up and deal their “widdle hurt feelings” we really don’t know what level of awful bullshit they are dealing with.

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