Breaking the BINARY
Vanity Fair US|September 2023
Inside the fight to de-gender awards shows
David Canfield
Breaking the BINARY

“AS A THEATER kid, all you ever dream about is being potentially nominated for a Tony,” says Justin David Sullivan. But this year, the star of the Broadway musical & Juliet declined to compete. Sullivan is trans nonbinary and didn’t see themself in either the actor or actress category. “It was heartbreaking to have to make that decision.”

Where is someone like Sullivan supposed to go? The debate has intensified in recent months as nonbinary performers find more success and gendered acting accolades feel more archaic. Liv Hewson (Yellowjackets) sparked headlines for opting out of Emmy consideration, and Emma Corrin called for an end to gendered awards. The Film Independent Spirit Awards have dropped “actor” and “actress” in favor of neutral “performance” categories. So, as Film Independent president Josh Welsh says, “It does feel like there’s a movement.”

This story is from the September 2023 edition of Vanity Fair US.

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This story is from the September 2023 edition of Vanity Fair US.

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