Billions star Asia Kate Dillon, who identifies as gender non-binary (someone who doesn’t use specific gender pronouns, like “he” or “she”), will present the best actor award at the upcoming MTV Movie & TV Awards on May 7 — an award that, for the first time ever, will go to either a man or a woman.
“I’m really proud that MTV has joined the conversation, about breaking down binaries,” Dillon, 32, tells PEOPLE. “To be presenting the first best acting award based solely on performance and not on sex or gender identity? It’s a historic moment, and one that I share with everyone leading the way for change.”
Dillon’s Billions character Taylor Mason, a financial genius, is the first gender non-binary actor ever to be portrayed on TV — something Dillon is also incredibly proud of.
“Binaries, whether it’s ‘man’ or ‘woman,’ or ‘black’ and ‘white,’ were created to separate us. So without binary, there is only ‘us,’ which makes us all equal,” Dillon explains, noting that they’re also very proud of the way Billions handles Taylor’s non-binary gender issue.
“What Billions does so brilliantly is they just make it a non-issue,” Dillon says. “Damien Lewis’ character says, ‘Those are the pronouns you use? Great, let’s get down to business. How can you make me money?’ So Taylor has so much more value than just gender identity.”
Dillon says the LGBTQ response to Taylor’s character has been overwhelmingly supportive: “One of those most gratifying responses I get is from strangers all over the world who struggle with their gender telling me, ‘I feel less alone.’ Or, ‘I never though I could be an actor, and now I know that I can.’ Even speaking of it now, I get emotional. It’s just so cool.”