Carlos Santana Defends Transphobic Remarks, ‘I’m Not Against Anybody’

As the documentary ‘Carlos‘ is set to hit theaters soon, Carlos Santana discussed his previous transphobic comments in a recent interview with the CBS News correspondent Lee Cowan.

The guitarist gave a speech including anti-transgender comments at a performance in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in July, implying that there are only two genders. When asked about his words during the conversation, he clarified his point, saying:

“I didn’t mean it to be offensive to anybody. I’m not against anybody. I’m not trying to demean you. I already know what it’s like to be discriminated [against] since I was a child, being Mexican. So I don’t want to put that on you or anybody. Be happy and have fun.”

He seemed to focus back on his music as he added:

“People everywhere you go need healing. And that’s what we do.”

Just before that, Santana also reflected on his experience with sexual abuse between the ages of 10 and 12, which he first revealed to Rolling Stone in 2000. He explained:

“I wanted to come clean with that because, at that time, there were a lot of people who were having that experience. And a lot of people dealt with suicide and stuff like that. A lot of people wrote letters like, ‘Man, Carlos, thanks for saying that.’ It did help a lot of people psychologically and emotionally. And it was like good medicine.”

The host then asked whether it helped him too, to which the musician replied:

“Oh yes. I really let go of the experience. And I stopped being so angry and so mean. It was just a natural way of cleansing the palate.”

Here are the controversial comments he made on stage:

“When God made you and me — before we came out of the womb, you know who you are and what you are. Later on, when you grow out of it, you see things, and you start believing that you could be something that sounds good, but you know it ain’t right. Because a woman is a woman and a man is a man. That’s it. Whatever you want to do in the closet, that’s your business. I’m OK with that.”

Later, Santana offered an apology to the transgender community for his remarks, expressing his intention to honor and respect everyone’s beliefs. He encouraged people to be true to themselves and grow.

You can watch the rest of his interview here.