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Popular Topics in Social Sciences
Africa: Sub-Saharan, Pre-Independence
With reports from hundreds of sub-Saharan African locales of male-male sexual relations and from about fifty of female-female sexual relations, it is clear that same-sex sexual relations existed in traditional African societies, though varying in forms and in the degree of public acceptance
Stonewall Riots Stonewall Riots
The confrontations between police and demonstrators at the Stonewall Inn in New York City the weekend of June 27-29, 1969 mark the beginning of the modern glbtq movement for equal rights.
Native Americans
A social role for individuals who crossed or mixed male and female characteristics was one of the most widely distributed institutions of native North America.
The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980 The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980
The sexual revolution of post-World War II America changed sexual and gender roles profoundly.
Mixed-Orientation Marriages
Mixed-orientation marriages--those in which one partner is straight and the other is gay or lesbian--often end in divorce, but such an ending is not inevitable.
Leather Culture
"Leather" is a blanket term for a large array of sexual preferences, identities, relationship structures, and social organizations loosely tied together by the thread of what is conventionally understood as sadomasochistic sex.
Transgender Activism
Since the late nineteenth century, transgendered people have advocated legal and social reforms that would ameliorate the kinds of oppression and discrimination they suffer.
Gay Liberation Front
Formed soon after the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the short-lived but influential Gay Liberation Front brought a new militancy to the movement that became known as gay liberation.
In Memoriam
In Memoriam: Lou Reed (1942-2013)
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 10/28/13
Last updated on: 10/28/13
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Lou Reed in 2008. Photo by Marcelo Costa (CC BY 2.0).

Bisexual singer, songwriter, and guitarist Lou Reed, whose music exerted enormous influence on rock musicians, died on October 27, 2013 at his home in Amangassett, New York. The cause of death was complications from liver disease.

As Ben Ratliff observes in the New York Times, "Reed brought dark themes and a mercurial, sometimes aggressive disposition to rock music."

Tina Gianoulis reports in her glbtq.com entry on Reed that, at his parents' insistence, he underwent electroshock treatments for his homosexuality as a teenager. However, he emerged from the mental hospital "with his antisocial impulses (and bisexuality) more or less intact."

In 1965, Reed, as part of Andy Warhol's studio, The Factory, joined fellow musicians John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker to form the Velvet Underground. Warhol managed the band, which sold few albums and disbanded after only five years, but had an impact that lasted for decades.

Reed's songs for the Velvet Underground were about drugs and junkies, hustlers and drag queens, all performed with a bare-bones intensity that made them appealingly taboo.

After the breakup of Velvet Underground, Reed continued to violate taboos as a solo artist. In 1972, Reed issued his first solo album, Transformer, which was produced by David Bowie.

As Gianoulis observes "On Transformer, Reed changed his look from urban tough to glam-rock flash. He also introduced his most famous signature song, "Walk on the Wild Side," the story of a transgendered hooker's odyssey from Los Angeles to the hard streets of New York, told with an understated, ironic affection and a catchy backbeat.

Reed continued his solo career, producing well-reviewed albums every few years and frequently touring Europe and the United States.

Reed had a long very public affair with a transgender woman known only as Rachel, who is thought to have inspired many of his songs, including "Walk on the Wild Side," Reed's only top-40 hit. In addition, he was married three times.

Reed is survived by his wife, composer and singer Laurie Anderson, as well as his mother and sister.

The clip below highlights Reed's "Walk on the Wide Side"

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