Trends: Genderless Awards Categories

MTV Movie & TV Awards nominees Daniel Kaluuya, Millie Bobby Brown, and Emma Watson (Entertainment Weekly)

MTV Movie & TV Awards nominees Daniel Kaluuya, Millie Bobby Brown, and Emma Watson (Entertainment Weekly)

Last month, MTV announced that its MTV Movie Awards would be no more. Instead, the show would now involve awards for TV, and be called the MTV Movie & TV Awards. But that wasn’t the only new thing the cable network had in store for its new awards show: Certain major categories will be gender neutral.

This new gender neutrality spans the acting categories: Best Actor in a Movie (which includes Emma Watson from “Beauty and the Beast” and Daniel Kaluuya from “Get Out”) and Best Actor in a TV Show (which includes Donald Glover from “Atlanta” and Millie Bobby Brown from “Stranger Things”). Of course, some categories have always been gender-neutral, inkling Best Kiss, Best Villian and Best Hero.

There’s clearly a sea change happening, as mainstream culture has gotten hip and woke to the nuances of gender identity. And the young generation isn’t averse to asking for what they want, particularly in terms of representation. Actor Asia Kate Dillion, known for their role on Showtime’s “Billions” as a non-binary character (and TV’s first one at that!), wrote to the Television Academy and asked them to reconsider their binary male and female categories. This was a big ask: the Television Academy governs the Emmy Awards. The Television Academy was very receptive to Dillon’s letter, and Dillon decided to submit themselves under Best Supporting Actor

If the Emmys were to do away with gendered categories, the award show would be getting back to its roots. The Emmys enacted separate categories for male and female performers in 1951, its third year.

I hope this new gender consciousness grows until it becomes so commonplace we no longer need to remark on it.

Showtime’s “Billions” Has TV’s First Non-Binary Character

Asia Kate Dillon on 'Billions' (The Advocate)

Asia Kate Dillon on ‘Billions’ (The Advocate)

With all the wokeness spreading, it was only a matter of time before entertainment began reflecting our new reality. And gender is part of that.

The second season of Showtime’s “Billions” introduced Taylor Mason, a character played by actor Asia Kate Dillon. Dillon self-identifies as non-binary, meaning they don’t identify as strictly male or female. (Dillon’s preferred pronouns are “they,” “them,” and “their.”) Not only is Dillon non-binary, but their character is too.

Taylor Mason is the first non-binary character on TV. When Dillon received the character description, it stated that the character was “female, non-binary.”

This is also the first time a non-binary actor has played a non-binary character. Let’s hope that Dillon and her “Billions” character bring non-binariness further into public knowledge.