Actor Asia Kate Dillon is making TV history through their portrayal of mainstream television’s first gender non-binary character on Showtime’s Billions. Yesterday Dillon, who also identifies as non-binary IRL, appeared on Ellen DeGeneres for a powerful teaching moment.
“Non-binary is a term used by some people—myself included—who experience their gender identity as falling somewhere outside the boxes of ’man’ or ’woman,'” Dillon explained, adding that they learned something from their Billions” character, Taylor, who identifies as both female and non-binary.
“I thought, how can those two things co-exist?” Dillon said. “After doing some research, I understood that sex and identity are different. ‘Female’ is a sex, and sex is between our legs. Gender identity is between our ears.”
Ellen admitted she still had a lot to learn about non-binary gender identities, and that the pronouns were tricky for her. “It’s really confusing, and I think people assume just because I’m gay I understand all of this and I don’t,” she said. “I just want to be respectful.”
Dillon reassured Ellen and any viewers who might be feeling the same way: “Even for people who identify as gay or queer and are in the community, it’s a learning process for us, too. So of course it’s going to be a learning process for everyone.”