Gender-fluid child actor eligible in male, female categories at B.C. awards show
Published Saturday, January 28, 2017 6:46PM PST
Last Updated Saturday, January 28, 2017 7:08PM PST
A B.C. child actor has just made history - and advanced the conversation about gender identity - by becoming Canada’s first performer to have a single role submitted for award nominations in both the male and female performance categories at the Leo Awards.
Vancouverite Ameko Eks Mass Carroll,11, is the lead actor of the short film Limina (Latin for ‘threshold’). The film tells the story of an intuitive and curious gender-fluid child named Alessandra who “embarks on a path of kindness" while growing up in a small town.
The Leo Awards, which honours the best in B.C. film and television, announced the groundbreaking decision that Carroll was eligible to be nominated in both male and female performance categories this week.
“In my head I was thinking, ‘Woo woo, this is the best day of my life,’” said Carroll, doing a little dance.
Carroll was born a boy and identifies as that gender some days, on others a girl, and sometimes as neither.
“Most of the time it’s pretty hard to know what I’m going to be that day because I just change most of the time, once in a while, every single day and sometimes I feel neither,” said Carroll.
Walter Daroshin, president of the Leo Awards, says the response to the decision has been “surprising and overwhelming.”
“Funnily enough, we really didn’t intend to send a message and didn’t really consider this that extraordinary other than the fact that it’s outside our current rules and regulations,” said Daroshin. “But if there is a message I hope it’s inclusivity – that would be the one I’d like to promote.
The move comes after a similar decision last year in the U.S., when gender-fluid actor Kelly Mantle was able to submit paperwork in both categories for the Academy Awards.
The filmmakers behind Limina say the decision is an important step forward for trans-rights, and furthers the conversation around gender identity - both in film and for all Canadians.
“This is an affirming moment for trans-diversity,” said Joshua M. Ferguson, who co-directed and co-produced the film with Florian Halbedl. “And it’s an educational moment.”
Nominations for the award itself won’t be announced for a few more months, but Carroll already feels like a winner.
“It was one of the best experiences of my life because I got to experience people who truly got me and who I truly am,” said Carroll, noting how proud both parents are of the child actor. “Every day was pure excitement.”
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Scott Roberts