"I want to honor and respect all person's ideals and beliefs," the 'Maria Maria' musician said in a since-deleted statement
“I am sorry for my insensitive comments. They don't reflect that I want to honor and respect all person’s ideals and beliefs. I realize that what I said hurt people and that was not my intent. I sincerely apologize to the transgender community and everyone I offended,” the “Maria Maria” musician said in a statement posted to his Facebook page Thursday and then removed on Friday.
Santana, 76, continued, "Here is my personal goal that I strive to achieve every day. I want to honor and respect all person’s ideals and beliefs whether they are LGBTQ or not. This is the planet of free will and we have all been given this gift. I will now pursue this goal to be happy and have fun, and for everyone to believe what they want and follow in your hearts without fear. It takes courage to grow and glow in the light that you are and to be true, genuine, and authentic. We grow and learn to shine our light with love and compliments. Have a glorious existence. Peace."
On Friday, a replacement Facebook post read, "the energy of consciousness generates its own kind. hate begets hate love begets love."
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's apology came after he was filmed on stage during an Atlantic City, New Jersey concert in June telling his audience that certain gender expressions and identities "ain't right." Footage of Santana's comments, which many called out publicly as anti-trans, began circulating on social media Thursday.
"When God made you and me, before we came out of the womb, you know who you are and what you are," he said at the time. "Later on, when you grow up, 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 wanna do in the closet, that's your business. I'm OK with that."
Santana's controversial comments come as LGBTQ+ individuals continue to experience discrimination across the United States. At least 13 U.S. states have signed anti-LGBTQ legislation into law, and another 23 states introduced such bills in 2022 alone, according to the Human Rights Campaign, with many of those laws targeting transgender youth and gender-affirming care.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ramped up attacks on trans youth, directing the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate parents for child abuse after they provided gender-affirming care for their children. Florida and Alabama have since adopted similar policies.
Last August, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals published an opinion that 1990's Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) extends to those suffering from gender dysphoria, a potential landmark ruling that could guarantee access to gender-affirming care.
In June, Santana told PEOPLE that “love is unconditional” when he discussed how he met his wife jazz drummer Cindy Blackman Santana. "I was meditating and talking to God, and I said, 'I need a queen to come home to share this. Love is unconditional, and I need someone who loves me and grows with me,'" he shared. "And next thing I know, here comes Cindy. The way Cindy walked like a New York woman, filled with confidence. I was like, 'Damn.'"
The “Black Magic Woman” artist and Cindy, 63, got engaged onstage in July 2010, and married that December at the Ritz-Carlton in Maui, Hawaii.
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