On Tuesday (23 November), the annual music awards show announced that their prizes would no longer be split into male and female categories, with the biggest awards of the night now being Artist of the Year and International Artist of the Year.
In a statement announcing the change, the Brits said the move came to celebrate “artists solely for their music and work, rather than how they choose to identify or as others may see them” and as a commitment to being “as inclusive and as relevant as possible”.
Speaking toThe Sun, Queen guitarist May claimed that decisions were being made “without a lot of thought” as a “knee-jerk” response to “woke cancel culture”.
“I feel very uncomfortable about some of the decisions that are being made, often out of fear, because people are so afraid of being called out,” May said, adding: “It is a horrible atmosphere.”
He continued: “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… A lot of things work quite well and can be left alone. I think some things need to go back.”
May then claimed that Queen wouldn’t have been considered “diverse” by 2021’s standards.
“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 Independent has contacted the Brits for comment.
The campaign to get rid of gendered categories had previously been amplified by musicians such as Sam Smith and Will Young, who said that it excludes non-binary musicians.
Smith, who is non-binary, did not submit their most recent album Love Goes for this year’s Brits as it did not fit into any of the gender-based categories.