After a years-long debate about how awards can be more accommodating when it comes to gender-neutral performers at ceremonies, Emmy Awards have announced that they have accepted the gender-neutral option for nominees and winners.

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The nominees in the Best Actress or Best Actor honours can choose to be called “performers” rather than an actor or an actress during the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards that will take place in September this year. The official statement from The Television Academy’s Board of Governors read, “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.”

This big step was taken after actor Asia Kate Dillon, who is non-binary, in 2017 had asked the Academy to clarify its gender distinctions. This had sparked a huge conversation about gender neutrality at award ceremonies.

Last year, the Television Academy decided to develop a new format for the 2020 Creative Arts Emmys because of the Covid-1 situation. The Creative Arts Emmys was an “innovative virtual event” scheduled for “several nights in September 2020.” The annual Governors Ball events that are usually held after the Emmys and the Creative Arts Emmys have also been cancelled – a first in Emmy history.

“This has been an incredibly challenging time for our industry; and though we are now making plans to get back to work, we know there are many still suffering from the work stoppage caused by the coronavirus,” Television Academy Chairman and CEO Frank Scherma had said in a statement last year.

“As the industry reemerges, we will continue to support our more than 24,000 members and our community through this donation and our Academy’s programs and resources,” he had added.