Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Lou Reed: Setting The Record Straight

In the coming weeks, my brother, Lou Reed, will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo performer, an honor celebrating his incredible impact upon the world of music. Since his passing from liver disease in 2013, there have been many accolades, articles, and ruminations on his life. As biographers have begun in earnest to explore every aspect of that life, there has been speculation about the childhood issues that contributed to his artistic genius.

With this piece I hope to provide clarity and context around this section of his life, as it has been inaccurately portrayed by previous authors, to the detriment of my family. For all those whose families’ lives were damaged by the pervasive medical thinking of the time, I hope to offer solace and comfort...


From an article in Medium by Lou's sister, Merrill Weiner, a psychotherapist.

This was picked up by much media around the world who, like the Guardian, zoomed in on this bit...

It has been suggested by some authors that ECT [Electroshock treatment] was approved by my parents because Lou had confessed to homosexual urges. How simplistic. He was depressed, weird, anxious, and avoidant. My parents were many things, but homophobic they were not. In fact, they were blazing liberals. They were caught in a bewildering web of guilt, fear, and poor psychiatric care. Did they make a mistake in not challenging the doctor’s recommendation for ECT? Absolutely. I have no doubt they regretted it until the day they died. But the family secret continued. We absolutely never spoke about the treatments, then or ever...


I'm pretty sure it was Lou who first said it was an attempt to turn his little gay boy self straight...

PS Typically the illiterates at The Independent balls this up, claiming she's denying Lou had 'homosexual urges'. [Edit: Unless I'm going mad/der, The Independent piece was tweaked Sunday after someone left a sarcy comment about this...].

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