The Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Toronto theatre are going gender-neutral.
The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts says it’s planning to eliminate all binary male and female designations in the performance categories for the awards.
Those designations will be replaced with a single “Outstanding Performance” for each division, which are based on genre such as dance, opera, and general theatre.
The change will take effect for the awards in June 2019, which will mark the 40th anniversary for the Doras, which honour top Toronto talent in the performing arts.
Lengthy review, consultation process
TAPA, which produces the annual awards, says it adopted the gender-neutral policy after a 14-month review process.
The process included five divisional town halls, juror surveys and community consultations.
This change levels the playing field for male, female and gender non-conforming artists who will now be judged solely on the basis of their performance.– Jacoba Knaapen, TAPA
“During the consultation process by the Dora Review Working Group, this gender-based binary was revealed as an area of great concern as it prevents access to recognition for performers identifying as non-binary or gender non-conforming individuals,” Régine Cadet, TAPA board president, said in a statement.
“This change levels the playing field for male, female and gender non-conforming artists who will now be judged solely on the basis of their performance, regardless of how they identify,” added Jacoba Knaapen, executive director of TAPA.
TAPA said it’s also partnering with Egale Canada Human Rights Trust to provide training to all of the incoming Dora jurors for the 2018-19 season to increase awareness of gender issues.
A growing movement
Several other awards shows have also been looking at ways to make room for performers whose gender identities don’t fall neatly into the “male” or “female” categories.
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Last year British Columbia’s Leo Awards allowed gender-fluid actor Ameko Eks Mass Carroll to be eligible for consideration in both male and female performance categories.
The Joey Awards, which honour young performers in Canada, also allowed Ameko to be considered in both gender categories.
And the MTV Movie & TV Awards offered a gender-less acting prize.
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