‘I realise what I said hurt people’: Carlos Santana apologises for ‘insensitive’ anti-transgender remarks

Carlos Santana has apologised for a series of remarks he made about transgender people during a recent live performance.

The Santana musician had been filmed on stage at an Atlantic City concert last month appearing to suggest that trans people should stay “in the closet”, and affirming his support for comedian Dave Chappelle.

Chappelle has faced criticism in recent years for his comments and jokes about trans people, some of which featured in his controversial 2021 Netflix special The Closer.

On Thursday (24 August), Santana shared a written apology on his Facebook page.

“I am sorry for my insensitive comments. They don’t reflect that I want to honour and respect all person’s ideals and beliefs. I realise that what I said hurt people and that was not my intent. I sincerely apologise to the transgender community and everyone I offended,” he wrote.

“Here is my personal goal that I strive to achieve every day. I want to honour 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.”

In the original footage, the guitarist had made reference to trans people being being “in the closet”, and spoke about gender being defined “in the womb”.

“When God made you and me, before we came out of the womb, you know who you are and what you are,” Santana says in the footage.

Carlos Santana pictured in June 2023 (Getty Images for Tribeca Festiva)
Carlos Santana pictured in June 2023 (Getty Images for Tribeca Festiva)

The remark prompted a cheer from the crowd in attendance.

He continued: “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 wanna do in the closet, that’s your business. I’m ok with that.”

Arranging his hands side by side, he then remarked: “I’m like this with my brother Dave Chappelle.”

The Independent has contacted Santana’s representative for comment.