Brian May fears a modern version of Queen would be “forced” to include a trans musician to demonstrate diversity

Brian May
(Image credit: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Queen guitarist Brian May has criticised a decision taken by the organisers of the BRIT Awards to move away from traditional male and female categories for awards, and seemingly interpreted this as an attack upon liberty and human rights.

In a remarkable interview given to The Mirror newspaper, picked up with great relish by the UK’s right wing tabloid press, May moves beyond discussing the music industry event, and talks of the decision as somehow emblematic of an ‘end of days’ assault on personal freedom with potentially dire consequences for humanity, referencing an “atmosphere of fear everywhere because people are afraid to say how they really think” and warning that eventually “there will be some kind of explosion.”

In his interview, May expresses his fears that, in the current cultural climate, Queen would no longer be considered diverse enough to receive recognition at music industry awards ceremonies, and imagines the existence of some totalitarian regime imposing their will upon musicians seeking to form new bands, saying that Queen “would be forced to have people of different colours and different sexes and we would have to have a trans [person].”

It’s May’s belief that late Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury would not have welcomed the emergence of this new world order that he has just now imagined into existence.

“Freddie came from Zanzibar, he wasn’t British, he wasn’t white as such – nobody cares, nobody ever, ever discussed it,” May said. “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.”

If civilisation does not crumble into dust in the wake of next year’s BRIT Awards, Queen will resume their postponed Rhapsody tour in Belfast on May 27, and play shows in Europe through to July 25.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.