Words: Alastair James; pictures: Wiki
Queen’s Brian May has apologised after criticising a decision by the organisers of the BRIT Awards to make gender-neutral categories.
The 74-year-old guitarist said having male and female artists compete for 'Artist of the Year' had been made without "enough thought".
He also said: "A lot of things work quite well and can be left alone. I get so sick of people trying to change things without thinking of the long-term consequences. Some of these things are an improvement, some of them are not."
"We all deserve respect and an equal place in this world"
Speaking to the Mirror, he said there was an “atmosphere of fear” in society with people being afraid to say what they think. Freddie Mercury, Queen’s lead singer who died in 1991, would have found things difficult today too, he added.
Posting on Instagram on Sunday (28 November) the guitarist apologised after the backlash his comments caused.
He said he’d been "ambushed and completely stitched up" at the time and had been made to look unfriendly to trans people in subsequent news stories. However, he insisted, "Nothing could be further from the truth."
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"Sincere apologies to anyone who has been hurt by the stories," he continued. "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. And my grateful thanks to all of you who stepped up to defend me in the last couple of days. It means so much that you have faith in me. With love – Bri"
On Monday 22 November it was announced that the traditional 'Best Male' and 'Best Female' categories would be scrapped in favour of 'Artist of the Year' following calls to do so from artists such as Sam Smith, who identifies as non-binary.
The Chair of the BRITs, Tom March, said of the changes: "It feels completely the right time to celebrate the achievements of artists for the music that they create, and the work that they do, irrespective of gender."
The Attitude December issue is out now.