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Freddie Mercury would be upset by ‘queer’ label, says Queen star Brian May

“The vocabulary has changed a lot" says the iconic guitarist

By Jamie Tabberer

Freddie Mercury in the video for Living On My Own
Freddie Mercury in the video for 'Living on My Own' (Image: CBS)

Brian May has shared that late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury was no fan of the word “queer”.

The iconic guitarist was in the band with Freddie, who it’s widely understood was bisexual, from 1970 until Freddie’s death of HIV-related complications in 1991.

May made the revelation while speaking to Adam Lambert alongside Queen’s Roger Taylor for ITV documentary Adam Lambert: Out, Loud and Proud.

The programme aired on ITV1 on Wednesday (19 June 2024).

“Queer was a word you wouldn’t want to use – I would never have used it to Freddie” – Brian May

“The vocabulary has changed a lot,” said May. “Queer was a word you wouldn’t want to use. I would never have used it to Freddie, and he would have been upset if we had.”

Continued 76-year-old May: “He [Freddie] would’ve said: ‘I’m not queer, I’m normal, darling’. Because queer meant odd and weird.”

“It’s hard for us to talk about Freddie as a queer musician,” May furthermore added. “He would say: ‘I’m a musician darling. That’s all I want to tell you’.”

Speaking about how Freddie’s sexuality is apparent in Queen’s music, May went on: “I think there’s more in Freddie’s music than people realise. I think there’s still stuff to find.”

Queen + Adam Lambert formed in 2011. Speaking in an interview ahead of this week’s broadcast, Adam told ITV: “I think getting to sit down with Brian and Roger was really special. Because we’ve had so many of these conversations in private. 

“To be able to capture some of it for the cameras and share with the public is really cool. I’ve gotten to know Brian and Roger over the last decade, they are such lovely human beings and allies.

“They’ve always supported and loved Freddie, and they knew about who Freddie was from day one and they loved him unconditionally.”