The ARIA Music awards will be taking massive steps forward towards better inclusivity, starting from the upcoming award ceremony this November.

Announcing there would be neither a Best Male Artist or Best Female Artist at November’s show, Annabelle Herd, chief executive of ARIA, said in a statement that “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.”

“The music industry is demanding a more equal, inclusive, safe and supportive space for everyone and ARIA is working hard to achieve that across the ARIA Awards and everything we do,” Herd said.

‘Gender Shouldn’t Be A Contributing Factor’

It is indeed a massive step forward, and one which will be warmly embraced by the like of G Flip, who came out as non-binary earlier this year. G Flip had told Star Observer that attitudes towards gender identity are changing. “It’s definitely the younger generation that understand it more… the older generation are finding it the hardest to understand.” 

Other artists have also been welcoming of the change, including recording artist Greg Gould who recently amassed 20 million views for his award-winning music videos and number one album ‘1998’.

Speaking with Star Observer, Gould said that “As a Queer Australian recording artist – I’m really proud of the ARIAS for leading the important change globally for equality and inclusivity – it’s about the artistry and the music – gender shouldn’t be a contributing factor.”

“I’m so glad we can all be celebrated equally, so that the work is our focus – it’s a profound step in what I hope continues to change in all industries and other awards shows like the Logies and the AACTAS and international programs like the GRAMMYs and the Oscars. We must all be included and recognised as equals,” said Gould.

Promote Better Inclusion

Speaking with ABC on Wednesday, Herd also said that the ARIAS would be actively working in other areas to effectively promote better inclusion across all facets of the awards saying of this work that, “The important thing is to get everybody involved because real change doesn’t happen unless you get change across the board,”

Herd explained that the ARIAs were taking several other steps, including reviewing judging panels to make sure they more adequately reflected the industry.

This year’s awards ceremony, will for the second year running, be a digital affair broadcast on Youtube on November 24th, and will come after the carnage that has been the last 18 months for the Australian Music industry, which has suffered through rolling lockdowns and lack of adequate support from both State and Federal Governments.



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