Actor Asia Kate Dillon explains in the simplest terms why gendered awards need to go in the bin

Non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon has said that acting awards should abolish gendered categories so that everyone can be represented.

“Not everyone identifies within the binary,” they told The Hollywood Reporter’s podcast Hollywood Remixed. “And if we are trying to award art that is representational of everyone, then we need to be representing everyone, and abolishing gendered awards is one part of the change that needs to happen.”

Many awards shows, including the Berlin Film Festival and the Emmy Awards, have taken steps towards including non-binary people in recent years.

Dillon plays Taylor, the first-ever non-binary lead character in a TV series, on US TV drama Billions. They are one of the most high-profile non-binary actors in Hollywood and a strong advocate for queer and trans people.

The role has changed lives, including, as they told the podcast, their own.

“When I encountered the character breakdown for Taylor, and it did say ‘female non-binary’… something happened where everything aligned for me,” Dillon said.

“I have always felt non-binary, before I had the language to conceive or communicate what that was to other people. And if Taylor, if this fictional character can exist in this fictional world and has been brave enough to get up and get dressed and go out there into the world and be who they really are, then I can too.

“Whatever hope Taylor gave to other people once Taylor appeared onscreen, Taylor gave me that hope and sense of self first.”

The issue of gendered award categories is also present in music. Dillons comments come after British popstar Will Young called on the BRIT Awards to address the “tricky” issue of gendered categories, which exclude non-binary artists.

The BRITs announced plans to scrap gendered best artist categories in 2019 but there have been no changes as of yet.

Organisers said the categories were “under review” in May 2021, after non-binary singer Sam Smith spoke out about their own exclusion, but that wider consultation was needed “to make sure we get it right”.

Billions, which is a popular hedge-fund drama, returns this month with the remaining five episodes of season five.

The first seven episodes of season five aired from May 2020, as they were filmed before production was forced to shutdown due to the pandemic.

The first of those premiered on 5 September via streaming service Showtime in the US and on 8 September via Sky Atlantic and NOW in the UK.

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