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Caitlyn Jenner on How 'Dude (Looks Like a Lady)' Helped Her Through

Caitlyn Jenner

Jenner clarified that the song, deemed offensive to trans women, made her feel good. 

There was significant head-scratching when Caitlyn Jenner posted a photo of her with Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler on Instagram earlier this week with the caption that read that she and Tyler were "working on our duet for 'Dude (Looks Like a Lady).' One of my favorite songs!" It wasn't clear from her post if she was trying to be funny, self-deprecating, or sincere. But during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday, Jenner explained that the song helped her through a difficult time when she was closeted and alone.

@iamstevent and I are working on our duet for Dude Looks Like a Lady. One of my favorite songs!

A post shared by Caitlyn Jenner (@caitlynjenner) on

The song "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)," released in 1987, is about a guy who learns that the woman he's picked up is trans, and the lyrics are awful enough on their own, but it's long since been used in a pejorative manner in purposefully transphobic ways. As recently as 2013 the problematic Fox News show Fox & Friends played the song over a segment about former soldier and Wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning coming out as transgender. Nothing about the segment was respectful to Manning or to trans people, and the song choice reinforced that sentiment.

But the song became an anthem of sorts for Jenner. It was something she played to lift her out of dark times, she told Tyler when she bumped into him at a fundraiser in Minneapolis, she explained on Kimmel's show:

"So I go backstage after and I say to Steven, 'I have had some really, really tough times in my life. For six years at one point I stayed in my house, and every once in a while I would sneak out, get dressed and drive around in the dark. I always used to take your song 'Dude (Looks Like a Lady),' and that became my theme song. Driving around in my little car with my little CD in there, whipping up the tunes and stuff. And I just wanted you to know that it made me feel good.'"

While Jenner did share that the song is meaningful to her, she and Tyler are not about to sing a duet of it, as she teased in her Instagram post.

Watch Jenner with Kimmel below.

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