Asia Kate Dillon has been making waves in Hollywood, not only as the star of Billions but as the first gender non-binary person in a mainstream television show. According to Variety, Dillon has helped the Television Academy clarify the rules for Emmy Award consideration, by asking the Academy to not categorize Dillon by gender.
The latest addition to Orange is the New Black cast, who prefers to use the pronoun “they” when being referred to, has received outstanding praise for they work in Billions. The cast hit a speed bump when Showtime asked how they would like their work to be entered in for the Emmys. In an attempt to find the most suitable place for them the cast wrote a letter to the academy.
“I’d like to know if in your eyes ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ denote anatomy or identity and why it is necessary to denote either in the first place? The reason I’m hoping to engage you in a conversation about this is because if the categories of ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ are in fact supposed to represent ‘best performance by a person who identifies as a woman’ and ‘best performance by a person who identifies as a man’ then there is no room for my identity within that award system binary.”
Furthermore, if the categories of ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ are meant to denote assigned sex I ask, respectfully, why is that necessary?”
The Academy responded quickly, and assured the cast they would be “free to choose the category they wish to enter.” A television Academy spokesperson said, “The Television Academy celebrates inclusiveness, and as we discussed with Asia, there is no gender requirement for the various performer categories…Asia is free to choose the category they wish to enter”
In the end, Dillon, pleased with the Academy’s response, chose supporting actor.