Blue star Lee Ryan has denied being homophobic or transphobic following an online row with a drag queen.
The pop star's row with Sammy Shepherd - who performs as drag queen Layla Zee Susan - began when he wrote on Instagram that he "might start identifying myself as an alien / star / seed / indigo child. Anything but human", and Sammy responded by calling his comments offensive, insensitive and hurtful to the transgender and non-binary community.
The argument then escalated, with Lee and Sammy trading foul-mouthed barbs over private Instagram messages, followed by Sammy posting a video explaining the incident to his followers.
In an interview with The Sun about the row, Lee insisted he wasn't homophobic or transphobic, saying, "I'm bisexual and my bandmate (Duncan James) is gay - I would never disrespect anyone like that.
"I'm really upset and angry because I would never disrespect any community - I know what it's like to be disrespected for no reason and it hurts."
He stated that his comments were misconstrued and he wasn't mocking gender identity.
"I don't really like the human race, I think they're lost, especially what's going on in the world," he insisted. "It was a harmless thing, I was basically saying I'm an alien. I wasn't being offensive to anyone, unless you're an alien. I didn't say one thing about the LGBTQ+ community.
"I didn't say one thing about him being in drag. People get so comfortable sitting behind a keyboard and being really f**king rude... If you're going to be rude to me, I'll be rude back, and if you don't like it, don't come at me."
According to The Sun, Sammy has since reached out to Lee to apologise for the argument.