Trans singer Laura Jane Grace on Lou Reed’s influence

loureedTHE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — Following the death of singer Lou Reed — widely known in the transgender community for his 1972 trans-themed song “Walk on the Wild Side” — trans singer Laura Jane Grace was asked about her thoughts on Reed for the UK’s Channel 4 News:

“His song about Candy Darling was one of the first times I’d heard someone sing about a trans person, and romanticize it too. Any time a trans person is mentioned culturally, and isn’t the butt of a joke, it’s a good thing. Just having it there in the public consciousness is a good thing.”

Lou Reed was close friends with trans actress Candy Darling and other trans people during a period when sexual ambiguity and being androgynous was cool in popular culture, especially music. But the actual lives of transgender people during that time was nearly horrific. For those out at the time, artists like Reed and David Bowie served as inspiration and role models, during a time when next to none existed.


If you lived in the ’70s, this was one of the few things you could hang on to.

My previous article on Laura Jane Grace:

Positively wild: Lou Reed and transgender visibility – Channel 4 News.



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THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT is associated with Wipe Out Transphobia:

Read Lexie Cannes in The Huffington Post:

Categories: Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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5 replies

  1. The article would have been improved by an acknowledgement that the lyrics of ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ are actually quite problematic. (I know, I know, “it was a different time”, blah blah.)

    • David, what was the alternative then? My hunch is Lou Reed kept a number of trans people from going the suicide route.

      • That seems to be a non-sequitur. Are you saying that there’s nothing problematic about lines such as “Shaved her legs and then he was a she”, for instance? I’m just saying that the article should have acknowledged that by modern standards, that song is hardly a wonderful example of how to promote trans visibility.

      • By the way, although you weren’t to know this, my name is Daira. (WordPress makes it difficult to change login names.)

  2. The Lou Reed song, “Walk on the Wild Side” for me is a work worthy of recognition as a positive play on the “alternative lifestyles” of the early 1970’s. Thought it dealt with subjects that have a very dark side (prostitution and drugs) the song held the people mentioned up in a positive light. “Walk on the Wild Side” is one of the only 45 rpm records I personally will not give up.

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