Aria Awards scrap gendered categories to support non-binary artists

troye sivan aria awards 2016
Image: Supplied

Australia’s peak music awards have announced an overhaul to recognise non-binary artists in 2021. 

This year instead of awarding the best male or female artist, the Aria awards will instead hand out a Best Artist award.

It’s a huge change for the awards, established in 1987.

The awards have long celebrated Australian musical talent at the annual awards show.

This year the awards will again be a virtual event, in conjunction with Youtube.

Aria Awards “The time of excluding non-binary artists had absolutely passed

The discussion about the need for gendered categories in awards ceremonies has long been debated.

The Oscars and Emmys in the US have slowly adjusted their awards structures.

Subsequently, there have already been calls to remove their gendered categories.

For Aria CEO Annabell Herd, it’s about time.

“If you have categories that are limited to people who identify as male or female, then you are excluding a whole bunch of amazing artists that are non-binary. And it was clear that the time of excluding non-binary artists had absolutely passed.” Herd said in a statement.

She acknowledged that the previous structure to the gendered categories had prevented women from being represented as equal to men.

In a move to help ensure that all artists can be equally recognised in the awards, the category will be extended to ten nominees.

“We’re not going to get the gender balance right straight away.”

In her statement on Wednesday Annabell acknowledged issues with the Aria Award changes.

Whilst some see it as a step in the right direction for equality and diversity, others had raised concerns.

Women, including older women being overlooked had been raised, as well as bias towards male artists.

A brief look at previous inductees into the Aria Awards Hall of Fame paints an interesting picture.

Previous winners across the three decades of the awards highlight a heavy list of male recipients.

“Look, I understand [and] that concern has been raised, although not [by] many. Overwhelmingly, this announcement has been met with a really, really positive response. We’re not going to get the gender balance right straight away, and there are issues around recognition of female and non-binary artists that are going to take some work to change, but having a separate category for women is not the way to get equality.”

What do you think about the Aria Award Changes?

Have your say in the comments below.

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Michael James
Michael James

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia


  1. Diana
    16 September 2021

    This looks like re establishing gender bias against women.
    Over the years, we have fought so hard to be heard and recognised, without implicit bias, and explicit bias.
    The world is still male dominated.
    This gender theory seems to make biological women disappear.
    I’ve fought so hard for diversity; only that used to mean many ways of expressing being a woman, many ways of expressing being a man. It didn’t mean that being a biological woman didn’t exist!

  2. Cloé
    22 September 2021

    Diana, I hear you . As a transgender woman I am still not seen . And it could be another 100 years possably until Transwomen are seen in the same light as other genders. I don’t know what the answer is but I would have been happy with men women and gender diverse categories so that rather than something is taken away something is added. I recognise how oppressed cis-women have been and only want them to be seen more. And I want Gender divers people to catch up to women. I have been fired from three organisation I had worked for for ten years each just because I came out as trans and started living as my true identity.

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