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"I get so sick of people trying to change things without thinking of the long-term consequences” – Brian May blasts the Brit Awards’ decision to switch to gender neutral categories

Brian May
(Image credit: Don Arnold/WireImage)

Queen legend Brian May has spoken out against the UK Brit Awards' decision to move to gender neutral categories in 2021. “I feel very uncomfortable about some of the decisions that are being made, often out of fear,” May told The Sun in an  interview marking the 30th anniversary since Freddie Mercury’s passing. 

“Because people are so afraid of being called out. It is a horrible atmosphere. I get so sick of people trying to change things without thinking of the long-term consequences.

What matters is justice and equality of opportunity, no matter who you are, and that is actually not happening at the moment as everyone is jumping to conclusions and everyone is scared of doing the wrong thing

The Brits issued a statement on Monday (22 November) that abolishing female and male categories would make the show “as inclusive and as relevant as possible.” It will now see male and female artists including Ed Sheeran and Adele in the same Artist Of The Year category, following criticism in recent years that some categories have been dominated by male artists. 

 “I honestly don’t know if it disadvantages one group but it’s a decision that has been made without a lot of thought,” May said about whether the move could actually be detrimental to female musicians.

“What matters is justice and equality of opportunity, no matter who you are, and that is actually not happening at the moment as everyone is jumping to conclusions and everyone is scared of doing the wrong thing,” May added later, “I do find it very uncomfortable.”

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Queen

(Image credit: Phil Dent/Redferns)

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Instead, the British guitar hero - who won four Brit Awards with Queen - is calling for more understanding in the future.

“I want to see people start to understand each other in the new year and recognise the differences there are between us. Between our colour, between our sex and between our talents and celebrate the differences.”

 “We would be forced to have people of different colours and different sexes and we would have to have a trans [person],” May added. “You know life doesn’t have to be like that. We can be separate and different.”

A lot of people from our generation who are being called out for this have actually done a lot of good in their lives

Ultimately, May believes that a cancel culture can be damaging to all generations.

“Our generation made a lot of bad mistakes but not everybody in our generation was wrong and not everybody in this generation is right," he reasoned to The Mirror.

“A lot of people from our generation who are being called out for this have actually done a lot of good in their lives.

“The young people who are doing this will find that the same thing happens to them — people will be calling them out and they will be bewildered. I just pray for more understanding between us.”

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Rob Laing

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before that I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar.