A non-binary actor wrote the American Television Academy a letter asking whether they would be considered an actor or an actress when it comes to awards categories.
Asia Kate Dillon plays Taylor Mason on the Showtime series Billions. Tyler is the first non-binary character to be featured on an American television series. Asia also identifies as non-binary and their preferred pronouns are they/their.
When it comes to awards season, actors are nominated in one of two categories: actor or actress. What happens, however, with someone like Asia when they are put into consideration for awards?
When Showtime was submitting their performers for award consideration, they approached Asia and asked them which category they would prefer to be considered under.
NewNowNext reports that Asia wrote a letter to the Television Academy, asking them to clear up how the categories are assigned.
“I’d like to know if in your eyes ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ denote anatomy or identity,” they wrote, “and why it is necessary to denote either in the first place.
“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,’” they continued, “then there is no room for my identity within that award system binary.”
They decided in the end that they would submit themselves as an actor, as this is a gender-neutral term.
Asia recently explained more about their identity in an interview on Ellen. They explained that they learned a lot from researching their character on Billions. “I understood ‘Oh, sex and identity are different. Female is a sex. Sex is between our legs, and gender identity is between our ears.’
“That is how I’m able to identify as non-binary, but also female.”
Watch Asia’s interview with Ellen below: