Of all the mediums through which audiences could be educated about gender, a drama about New York hedge funds ought to be way down the list.
But embedded in the private-jet, ego-driven world of Billions are trojan-horsed explorations of female empowerment, lethally toxic masculinity and diverse gender expression.
Watch: Here’s what to expect in Season 5 of Billions.
In season two of the show, we meet intern Taylor Mason, played by Asia Kate Dillon. Mathematically brilliant, emotionally controlled, ruthlessly efficient, Taylor lands in the white-collar playpen that is Axe Capital, a top-tier fund being closely watched by federal authorities.
“Hello, I’m Taylor,” the character says, hand extended towards their new boss, Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis). “My pronouns are they, theirs and them.”
In that moment, a piece of LGBTQI+ and pop culture history was made.
Like their character, Dillon doesn’t identify as male or female. And their part in Billions, available in Australia on Stan, is the first starring role for a non-binary actor on U.S. television.
It’s why words like ‘trailblazer’ tend to follow mentions of Dillon’s name. But they simply see themselves standing on the shoulders of others.
“It is a fact that I am the first non-binary actor to play a non-binary character on TV — that’s just a fact,” they told Mamamia. “It’s also a fact that I’m joining a trail that was blazed long before I arrived on the scene, primarily by trans women of colour. I’m proud to be one part of the movement.”
Dillon’s visibility has meant they have been cast as somewhat of an ambassador for the non-binary community, explaining their identity — what it means, why they chose it.