THE EMMY AWARDS have announced they are changing their 'outdated' format by allowing stars to be recognised in a gender neutral capacity.
Rather than being placed in the 'Actor' or 'Actress' categories, stars can now request to be nominated for a more general 'Performer' category, in a nod to the non-binary and gender fluid communities.
The change, which will take effect before the 73rd PrimeTime Emmy Awards in September, will see the 'Performer' title receive awards alongside Best Actor/Actress and Best Supporting Actor/Actress.
On Monday, the Television Academy's Board of Governors announced via its website: "No performer category titled 'Actor' or 'Actress' has ever had a gender requirement for submissions.
"Now, nominees and (or) winners in any performer category titled 'Actor' or 'Actress' may request that their nomination certificate and Emmy statuette carry the term 'Performer' in place of 'Actor' or Actress'."
The statues received by award winners in the 'Performer' category will be in the shape of a bear, rather than in the shape of a man or a woman.
It isn't the first time award shows in the arts have chosen to walk a gender-neutral path. The MTV Movie & TV Awards scrapped separate prizes for men and women in favour of a non-binary award in 2017, while the Grammy Awards has been gender neutral since 2012.
The Emmy's decision was, in part, prompted by non-binary star Asia Kate, who lobbied the academy in 2017 after facing speculation about a potential nomination.
Not knowing which category to choose, Kate wrote to the Award show bosses, saying: "I'd like to know if in your eyes 'actor' and 'actress' denote anatomy or identity and why it is necessary to denote either in the first place?...
"The reason I'm hoping to engage you in a conversation about this is because if the categories of 'actor' and 'actress' are in fact supposed to represent 'best performance of a person who identifies as a woman' ... and 'best performance by a person who identifies as a man' then there is no room for my identity within that award system binary," they added.
"Furthermore, if the categories of 'actor' and 'actress' are meant to denote assigned sex, I ask, respectfully, why is that necessary?"