Is this the end of "best actor" and "best actress" on television? It possibly is the beginning. In a small, but groundbreaking move for the LGBTQ community, the Television Academy made some tweaks for this year's Emmy Awards in a change gender-nonconforming entertainers have been fighting for.
On Monday night, the Television Academy's Board of Governors announced that a nominee or winner of any "actor" or "actress" category can request to be recognized as the gender-neutral "performer" on their certificates and statues. The categories of "actor" and "actress" will remain unchanged; however this option marks the first time ever gender clarification will be required for submissions for nominees.
Asia Kate Dillon, who is nonbinary and plays a nonbinary character on Showtime's Billions, has long been advocating for industry change, especially within awards shows surrounding gendered acting categories. Last June, they wrote an open letter to the SAG Awards to do away with gender-specific categories. "Not only is it possible to combine all of your leading and supporting nominees into the same gender-neutral categories, there is precedent," Dillion wrote. However, the SAG Awards did not honor their request.
This rule change comes almost directly after GLAAD and 39 LGBTQ organizations sent an open letter to the Emmy Television Academy voters requesting recognition and nominations for the groundbreaking LGBTQ series Pose.
This year's Emmys is set to air on September 19 on CBS.