Organisers behind the Brit Awards have revealed they will review the male and female categories following calls for a more inclusive reward system.
However, reports that the gender-based awards have already been axed are ‘based on rumour and speculation’, organisers told the BBC.
The source also confirmed there will definitely be male and female awards in the UK and international categories in February 2020.
This comes after a story in the Sunday Times (£) said organisers wanted to accommodate non-binary artists, who identify as neither male or female, and that they would likely scrap the gender-specific awards as a result.
The subject has come centre stage after Sam Smith asked to be referred to with ‘they/them’ pronouns, instead of ‘he/him.’
Sam wrote on Instagram:
After a lifetime of being at war with my gender I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out.
If the Brits were to make the move towards a more inclusive award system, it wouldn’t be the first organisation to do so.
In 2017, Emma Watson was the first person to receive the MTV Movie Awards’ gender neutral ‘best movie performance’ prize.
During her acceptance speech, the actor praised the decision to merge the ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ categories into one.
She told the audience:
With acting, you put yourself in someone else’s shoes. The only distinction should be between each outstanding performance.
Since rumours surround the Brits’ potential shake up began circulating, Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan accused organisers of ‘wrecking’ their reputation.
I’ll tell you what will happen, it’ll be like women’s sport decimating.
I suspect what will happen is male performers will end up winning all of the awards than the women.
The whole point of having the gender categories is to make it fair and equal, now we’re going the other way and that apparently is progress. I think it’s a load of nonsense.
However, since the MTV Music Awards replaced best female and male prizes with best overall artist award in 2017, the winners have been Ed Sheeran, Camila Cabello and Ariana Grande, which would go against Piers’ theory.
The Brit Awards are organised by the British Phonographic Industry and have hosted gendered prizes since 1977.
Although there will be no changes in 2020’s awards, the BPI said there would be ‘significant changes’ that would ‘involve more music and some category changes’.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open Mondays and Fridays, 8 pm to midnight and is run by trans volunteers.
Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.