‘Non-Binary’ Broadway Performer Rejects Tony Awards Eligibility in Protest of Traditional Male-Female Acting Categories

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 14: Justin David Sullivan performs at a media preview/photo c
Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

A Broadway performer who identifies as “non-binary” has rejected eligibility for the Tony Awards, saying traditional acting categories need to be reconsidered to become more “inclusive” of gender non-conforming actors.

Justin David Sullivan — who currently stars in the Broadway jukebox musical & Juliet, a comic re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet — will no longer be up for consideration by this year’s Tony nominating committee.

“I was told that I had to choose [the category in which] I felt comfortable, and in that process, I struggled a lot,” Sullivan told Playbill.

“There’s nothing more that I want to empower than non-binary people, to show that it’s possible to be non-binary on Broadway, play a non-binary character on Broadway and be nominated, and possibly potentially awarded. I felt like I couldn’t choose. I didn’t feel right being in either category because it didn’t resonate with me. I decided the only thing that felt right to me would be to abstain from nomination consideration. So I will not be considered for a Tony nomination.”

In the stage musical, Sullivan plays the role of “May,” a non-binary friend of Juliet. The show, which is running at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in New York, features songs by hitmaker Max Martin, who has written chart-toppers for Katy Perry, Britney Spears, and NSYNC.

Sullivan said gendered acting categories should be a thing of the past.

“I hope that this is a wake-up call to not only the Tonys, but for every award show to celebrate everyone and to make sure they’re being inclusive,” Sullivan says. “Things are shifting. There are so many gender-queer and gender-expansive artists in our community, and they bring so much to the table. So it hurts, and it was a really hard decision to make.”

A growing number of entertainment awards shows are doing away with traditional acting categories, electing to go gender neutral in a bid to placate the transgender lobby.

Shows including the Independent Spirit Awards, the Brit Awards, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association have all abolished gendered acting categories.

This year’s Tony Awards are scheduled to air on CBS on June 11. The annual broadcast has struggled for years with low ratings, hitting an all-time low of just 2.6 million viewers in 2021 before bouncing slightly last year to 3.9 million.

The numbers represent a steep drop-off from 2016, when the hit musical Hamilton helped the broadcast draw 8.7 million viewers.

Broadway has seen an influx of transgender and non-binary performers in recent years.

As Breitbart News reported, the long-running musical Chicago cast male-to-female transgender performer Angelica Ross in the lead role of Roxie Hart, who is not transgender. The recent Broadway revival of the classic musical 1776 featuredd a cast comprised entirely of women, transgender, and “non-binary” actors.

Last year, A Strange Loop star L Morgan Lee became the first transgender actor to receive a Tony Award nomination.

Follow David Ng on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg. Have a tip? Contact me at dng@breitbart.com


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.