Emma Corrin is calling on awards shows to shift to genderless acting categories.
The “My Policeman” actor, who identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, admitted that it’s “difficult” to comprehend gendered actor and actress categories as a nonbinary person.
“It’s difficult for me at the moment trying to justify in my head being non-binary and being nominated in female categories,” Corrin told BBC News. “When it comes to categories, do we need to make it specific as to whether you’re being nominated for a female role or a male role?”
Corrin continued about gender-neutral categories, “I hope for a future in which that happens. It’s about everyone being able to feel acknowledged and represented.”
The Independent Spirit Awards, Gotham Awards, Grammys, the British Independent Film Awards, and the MTV Movie & TV Awards all shifted to gender-neutral categories. The Academy Awards, Emmys, and Tonys still use gendered Best Actor and Best Actress nominations.
“You can discuss awards and the representation there, but really the conversation needs to be about having more representation in the material itself, in the content that we are seeing for nonbinary people, for queer people, for trans people, because then I think that will change a lot,” Emmy nominee Corrin said. “When those parts come up, meaning more people and more actors are playing those roles, then I think there will be more of an urgency with which these questions will be addressed.”
“Billions” star Asia Kate Dillon, who made history as the first gender nonbinary performer to play a nonbinary character on a major TV show, penned an open letter with similar words to the Television Academy in 2017 and another letter to the SAG-AFRTA’s SAG Awards committee members in 2020.
“I now recognize, however, that being submitted or nominated within categories that reinforce the gender-binary should have been met with my outright rejection of those nominations, alongside calling for change,” Dillon wrote. “I would be thrilled to serve as a judge, provided you take immediate action to combine your acting awards into gender-neutral categories. This courageous and overdue step from my union would send a wide message that SAG not only supports me but supports all its non-binary and gender non-conforming members.”
Film Independent president Josh Welsh told Variety in September 2022 that it’s “not a good approach” to pigeonhole performers based on gender. “There are lots of great performers, and I think we’ll see more who don’t identify as male or female,” Welsh said. “For award shows to be in the position of telling one of those performers, ‘If you get nominated, you have to choose male or female’ — that’s just not a good approach.”