'Billions' actor Asia Kate Dillon explains what it means to be non-binary

Those who identify as non-binary often prefer the pronouns they, their and them.

ByABC News
January 15, 2018, 11:31 AM

— -- Asia Kate Dillon made history by playing Taylor Mason on "Billions," the first non-binary role on American series television, and on Jan. 11, they were honored for their work with a best supporting actor nomination at the Critics' Choice Awards.

For some time, Dillon, who also identifies as non-binary and prefers the pronouns "they," "their," and "them," didn't quite know how to describe their gender identity.

All of that changed when the actor first read about Taylor Mason.

"Non-binary is a term used by some people, myself included, who feel that their gender identity falls outside the tradition boxes of man or woman," they told ABC News. "When I got to the script for 'Billions' and the character breakdown for Taylor Mason, the character that I play, said female and non-binary, a little light bulb went off in my head. ... I did a little bit of research and discovered that female is an assigned sex and non-binary is in reference to gender identity and those are two different things. It finally helped me put language to a feeling that I'd had my entire life."

Dillon, 33, said that since coming out as non-binary, they've heard from others who have been inspired by their story. Representation, they added, is important, particularly when the reach is as wide as that of their Showtime series.

PHOTO: Asia Kate Dillon as Taylor in "Billions."
Asia Kate Dillon as Taylor in "Billions."

"Sometimes you have to see the thing to know that it exists," they said. "Maybe there's a queer person in a town but they don’t feel comfortable or safe coming out, frankly, and the only representation they feel that they have or connection they have is on television or in a movie, and that’s really powerful."

For more about Dillon, watch the video above.