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Brian May says BRIT Awards comments were “twisted” to make him appear “unfriendly to trans people”

By | Published on Monday 29 November 2021

Brian May

Brian May has said that comments he made last week in relation to the BRIT Awards dropping gendered categories were “subtly twisted” by some pesky journalists in order to make it appear that he is “unfriendly to trans people”.

“Yes – I was ambushed and completely stitched up by a journalist at the recent ITV event”, he says in a new post on Instagram. “And it’s led to a whole mess of press stories making it look like I’m unfriendly to trans people. Nothing could be further from the truth. My words were subtly twisted. I should have known better than to talk to those predatory press hacks”.

“Sincere apologies to anyone who has been hurt by the stories”, he went on. “My heart is open as always to humans of all colours, all creeds, all sexes and sexualities, all shapes and sizes – and all creatures. We all deserve respect and an equal place in this world”.

That message does echo some of what it was reported he said at ITV’s Palooza industry event last week, to the effect that our differences should be celebrated. However, that was part of a lengthy and somewhat contradictory comment on the streamlining of BRIT Award categories, in which he also claimed the changes were part of a line of shifts in public discourse that were happening “out of fear” and without consideration of the “long-term consequences”.

“What matters is justice and equality of opportunity, no matter who you are”, he was quoted as saying. “[But] that is actually not happening at the moment as everyone is jumping to conclusions and everyone is scared of doing the wrong thing. I do find it very uncomfortable. I don’t think things are going very well, I have to say”.

“I want to see people start to understand each other in the new year and recognise the differences there are between us”, he added. “Between our colour, between our sex and between our talents and celebrate the differences”.

Also speculating during last week’s conversation on how Queen would fit into the modern world if they formed today, he went on: “Freddie came from Zanzibar, he wasn’t British, he wasn’t white as such – nobody cares, nobody ever, ever discussed it”.

“He was a musician, he was our friend, he was our brother”, he went on. “We didn’t have to stop and think: ‘Ooh, now, should we work with him? Is he the right colour? Is he the right sexual proclivity?’ None of that happened, and now I find it frightening that you have to be so calculating about everything”.

“I am sure if Queen started now we would be forced to have people of different colours and different sexes and a trans [person], but life doesn’t have to be like that”, he added. “We can be separate and different”.

There has been much discussion about the decision made by BRIT Awards organisers to stop handing out solo artist awards by gender.

Some are legitimately concerned that the changes will mean fewer nominations for women. However, if that is the case, it would reflect wider issues in the music industry and society too, which obviously should also be addressed (and, indeed, other work has been ongoing for some time to make the BRITs voting process more diverse).

But, despite those concerns, by merging the male and female categories, the BRITs become more inclusive and also finally recognise that your gender does not impact on your ability to make music.