Transgender singer Anohni from Chichester nominated for Brit Award

Artist Anohni. Photo by Alice O'Malley
Artist Anohni. Photo by Alice O'Malley

A transgender singer from Chichester has been nominated for Best British Female at the Brit Awards - 11 years after being nominated for Best British Male.

Anohni is the first artist to be included in both categories during their career.

The singer, who was born in Chichester, was nominated as Antony and the Johnsons, when she was a man called Antony Hegarty.

A Mercury Music Prize winner under her previous alias, she first worked under her new name Anohni last year, releasing the album Hopelessness in March.

The 45 year-old said she had identified as transgender since childhood but admitted that ‘cowardice and shame’ prevented her from asking people to call her ‘she’.

She said: “I was never going to become a beautiful, passable woman, and I was never going to be a man.

“It’s a quandary. But the trans condition is a beautiful mystery; it’s one of nature’s best ideas.”

Anohni competes against Ellie Goulding, Emeli Sande, Lianne La Havas and Nao at the Brits. Nominated for an Oscar last year, she boycotted the event in protest at the film awards’ failure to tackle a diversity deficit.

Following criticism last year, an overhaul of the Brit Awards has led to a higher number of female and ethnice minority artists being nominated this year.