Queen’s Brian May Condemned Over Gendered Awards Comments Despite Freddie Mercury’s History

by : Hannah Smith on : 26 Nov 2021 09:28
Queen Guitarist Brian May Condemned For Gender Neutral Comments Despite Freddie Mercury’s HistoryAlamy

Brian May has been taken to task on social media following ‘insensitive’ comments about inclusivity in the music industry, after he hit out at planned changes to the BRIT Awards.

The awards ceremony recently announced that it would be removing its individual male and female awards categories in favour of ‘gender neutral’ awards, a decision that May isn’t a fan of.


The BRIT’s decision came after it was confirmed that non-binary artist Sam Smith, who has won three BRIT awards, would be excluded from the gendered categories at this year’s ceremony.

Brian May (Alamy)Alamy

May condemned the decision as a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ to ‘woke cancel culture.’

Speaking to The Sun, May said:


I feel very uncomfortable about some of the decisions that are being made, often out of fear.

I get so sick of people trying to change things without thinking of the long-term consequences. Some of these things are improvements and some are not. Some of them are depriving people.


Queen’s Brian May Says He Was ‘Stitched Up’ Over Recent Gender Comments

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Speaking at ITV Palooza, May went on to claim that his band Queen would not have been considered diverse enough in this day and age, saying, ‘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. We can be separate and different.’

The guitarist’s comments have provoked widespread criticism, especially in the context of legendary Queen front man Freddie Mercury’s status as an LGBTQ+ icon.


‘Absolutely in awe at Brian May simply forgetting that Freddy Mercury was a HIV positive gay man from Zanzibar,’ one person tweeted in response to the quotes, with another joking, ‘Brian May is gonna be hella mad when he finds out that one of his band mates was a queer south Asian man.’

May’s comments came on the 30th anniversary of Mercury’s death at age 45 from complications of HIV/AIDS.

Those criticising the planned changes to the BRIT categories have pointed out that the existing gender neutral categories at the awards show have in recent years been overwhelmingly dominated by male artists. According to Variety, the 2020 Best Album and Best Group awards featured all-male nominees, with Dua Lipa the only female nominee for Best Song.

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Hannah Smith

Hannah is a London-based journalist covering news and features for UNILAD. She's especially interested in social and political activism.

Topics: Music, Gender Neutral, Queen


The Sun
  1. The Sun

    If Queen started now, we'd have to have people of different colours and sexes