The University’s Central Student Association Apologized for Playing Lou Reed’s 1972 at A Campus Event, Song Was Criticized for Being Transphobic.
The student union at the University of Guelph has gained international attention for criticizing the classic rock song “Walk on the Wild Side” as “transphobic.”
The university’s Central Student Association apologized via social media for playing Lou Reed’s 1972 hit at a campus event.
“It’s come to our attention that the playlist we had . . . on Thursday contained a song with transphobic lyrics,” the student association said in a May 12 Facebook post that has since been deleted.
Howard Sounes, author of Notes from the Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed, told the Star that Reed “cannot fairly be accused” of being transphobic.
“Lou Reed was a difficult and sometimes unpleasant person, but transphobic he was not,” Sounes said. “Reed was a bisexual who had close friendships, and conducted love affairs with, (transgender) men.”
After leaving the group, Reed wrote “Walk on the Wild Side” inspired largely by Holly Woodlawn and Candy Darling, transgender women who starred in Warhol’s films.
“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,” said Reed’s former producer Hal Willner in an interview.
“If the biggest controversy is that the (student association) apologized for a song being transphobic and then it turned out it wasn’t — that’s basically fine,” wrote another. “Good on them for trying to be accountable, even if they got it wrong.”