Australian music awards the ARIAs has ditched gendered categories to include non-binary artists for the first time ever.
The awards announced that this year it will merge the Best Male Artist and Best Female Artist categories into one category: Best Artist.
The awards announced the change on social media, tweeting: “This year, ARIA are also proud to announce the new category Best Artist which will be replacing Best Female and Best Male which reflects our commitment to embrace equality and the true diversity of the music industry in 2021.”
This year, ARIA are also proud to announce the new category Best Artist which will be replacing Best Female and Best Male which reflects our commitment to embrace equality and the true diversity of the music industry in 2021. #ARIAs pic.twitter.com/qkmrZ8LuO0
— ARIA (@ARIA_Official) September 14, 2021
The category will include 10 nominees instead of the usual five to account for merging the two awards.
“The time for separating artists based on gendered categories that exclude non-binary artists altogether has passed,” the ARIAs CEO Annabelle Herd told the Herald Sun.
“There are artists, including artists who have charted at number one in the past year, who don’t identify as male or female.”
The awards will be streamed on 24 November, 2021.
Unlike the ARIAs, non-binary artists are still excluded from the BRIT Awards
Other major music awards have not yet made the change, and are continuing to exclude non-binary artists.
The BRITs announced plans to scrap gendered best artist categories in 2019 but there have been no changes as of yet.
This year, Sam Smith was excluded from the BRIT Awards because the best artist categories are split into two genders, male and female, as they have been since the awards began in 1977. All other BRIT Awards categories are open to people of all genders.
At the time, Smith said in a statement: “The BRITS have been an important part of my career, one of my earliest achievements was winning Critics Choice in 2014.
“Music for me has always been about unification not division. I look forward to a time where awards shows can be reflective of the society we live in. Let’s celebrate everybody, regardless of gender, race, age, ability, sexuality and class.”
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