Queen’s Brian May says his words were ‘subtly twisted’ to imply anti-trans sentiments

Brian May of Queen clasps his hands in front of his mouth
Queen guitarist Brian May says the media “subtly twisted” a quote he gave to a British journalist last week.
(Chung Sung-Jun / Associated Press)

Brian May is striking back against a British publication that he says “subtly twisted” his words to make it sound as if he were hostile toward transgender people.

The Queen guitarist was quoted Wednesday in the Mirror after an interview at ITV Palooza! at the Royal Festival Hall in London. The U.K. outlet said the 74-year-old musician was speaking out against the Brit Awards’ decision to go genderless starting in 2022 with its artist of the year and international artist of the year categories.

May talked to the reporter about how the late Freddie Mercury wouldn’t have been OK with the current “woke” climate.

“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. 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,” May said.


“I managed to rip my Gluteus Maximus to shreds,” Queen guitarist Brian May shared on Instagram, along with a photo of himself sporting a mask in the hospital.

If Queen were formed now, May was quoted as saying, “We would be forced to have people of different colours and different sexes and we would have to have a trans [person]. You know life doesn’t have to be like that. We can be separate and different.”

What followed publication of that quote was “a whole mess of press stories making it look like I’m unfriendly to trans people. Nothing could be further from the truth,” May wrote Saturday on Instagram, claiming he had been “ambushed and completely stitched up by a journalist” at the event.

“My words were subtly twisted,” he wrote. “I should have known better than to talk to those predatory Press hacks. Sincere apologies to anyone who has been hurt by the stories. 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.”

Singer Sam Smith calls for awards shows to be “reflective of the society we live in” after the Brit Awards reportedly opted to keep gendered categories.

May also offered “grateful thanks to all of you who stepped up to defend me in the last couple of days,” saying it meant a lot that those people had faith in him.

The Brit Awards announced the changes to its 2022 categories a week ago. The move comes after nonbinary musician Sam Smith commented in March about the awards’ lack of inclusivity.