Actor Asia Kate Dillion has been receiving positive reviews for the role played on the Showtime series Billions. Asia identifies as gender non-binary in real life and who prefers “they” as a pronoun, as opposed to “he” or “she.” However, Showtime is not sure how to handle the request from the Television Academy to submit Dillion for an award – would it be Best Actor or Actress?
Variety has reported that Dillion responded with 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 did not ignore Dillion’s letter; in fact, they responded fairly quickly. The Academy explained that it would allow Dillon to choose the category (actor or actress) to place their name. A spokesman for the Academy explained: “Asia is free to choose the category they wish to enter.”
As a result, Dillion chose to have their name submitted to the Academy under the Best Supporting Actor category, but that still leaves the question of why do best Actor prizes need to be separated by gender. Either way, we wish Asia the best of luck!