Some songs become more meaningful in the context of a life phase. Some songs become more meaningful in the light of a particular event. ‘Walk on the wild side’ (Lou Reed, 1972) is a song that does both, at least for me. On the 12th of June 2016 almost 50 people were killed in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. I read the news and started humming the song. It’s a strangely decadent song full of danger; 1920’s Berlin instrumentation against the backdrop of 1970’s New York. I started humming it and thought back of myself in my early twenties. The time of experimentation, of trying to find out who I wanted to be, at least on a level of style and personality. I visited gay clubs, not for sex but for free drinks and a lot of attention. And I was going around in a pretty feminine way; short pants, tights, shiny shoes, feathers in my hair and lips painted red.


Going around like that made me realise that a lot of men really hate homosexuals (or anyone who looks gay in their view). They hate them so much, and so primitively that physical violence is always around the corner. Numerous times I encountered (groups of) men who wanted to beat me up.Real men hate gays as much as they love lesbian pornography. Rationally this makes no sense; from a male heterosexual perspective every gay couple reduces the competition with two, so all the more women to choose from. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. Do they hate homosexuality because of religion, because God supposedly only accepts the bond between man and woman and same-sex mating is unnatural? Maybe, but it doesn’t explain the violence. I think the truth is simpler and scarier. Quite some men hate everyone who is different and use violence as their primary means of communication.

It’s primitive hate, not even aimed at sexuality but at creativity, nonconformism, and being different. Being or acting gay is only one of the many ‘abnormalities’ that can get you in serious trouble. In light of recent events, and the dangerous times we live in, ‘walk on the wild side’ will from now on be my official ode to everyone who dares to be different.