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.

Brazil Will Pass Out Free Condoms During Carnival

Mardi Gras mask and beads (123 RF)

Mardi Gras mask and beads (123 RF)

Happy Mardi Gras! Known in English as Fat Tuesday (and just in time for National Condom Week), today celebrates casting off repression, upending social norms and indulging in vices before the Christian season of Lent begins (when enjoying all earthly pleasures ceases for 40 days). Much like Halloween, masks and costumes, dancing and lust in the air figure prominently.

Brazil has made Carnival an international destination, and it’s legendary for a reason. Several cities throw parades, led by various samba schools. Many foreigners fly in for the multi-day party (spanning the Friday before to Ash Wednesday at noon), making Carnival the country’s biggest tourism booster.

Naturally, when the shackles of convention are thrown aside, a lot more spontaneous sex occurs (because when in Rio…). But the Brazilian government is always prepared for this: they give out free condoms.

This year, they’ll hand out 70M condoms throughout the country. They’ve done this for years, handing out 65M in 2009, 55M in 2010, 89M in 2011, 3M in 2012, 73M in 2013 and 104M in 2014.

For visual learners, here’s a decade-long progression in line-graph form:

Brazil's Condom Distribution during Carnival, 2005-2015

Brazil’s Condom Distribution during Carnival, 2005-2015

As you can see, the number of condoms distributed during Carnival has tended to baseline around 70-75M in recent years (aside from 2012, whose 3M looks incorrect, to say the least).

Last year, the Brazilian government estimated that 2M+ people were on the streets at any given time during Carnival. Surely attendees can find at least one person to hook up with during the popular “blocos” (street-wide parties).

 

How Many States Cover Transgender Medical Care?

Estradiol estrogen pill (Open Minded Health)

Estradiol estrogen pill (Open Minded Health)

As the transgender community continues to gain visibility in mainstream culture, the issues they face will become more common. Receiving proper medical care is one such issue that will continue to gain prominence.

Last week, Oregon became the latest state to cover transgender care under Medicaid. According to NPR, services include hormone therapy (for example, giving a transwoman estrogen pills), puberty suppression and gender reassignment surgery. Other states with health coverage that cover transgender care include California, Colorado, Connecticut, New York and Vermont. (New York made the decision to cover gender reassignment surgery just last month.)

Only 14% of the United States covers transgender medical care by state. Let’s hope the population’s new visibility helps other states make the right decision to include medical care for transpeople.