A rising Broadway talent is declining the chance to be nominated for a Tony Award this year, but not because they don’t deserve it.
According to Playbill, Justin David Sullivan declined eligibility because he didn’t want to be assigned a gender.
In “& Juliet” at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, Sullivan, who self-identifies as non-binary, plays a non-binary role.
“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. “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.”
‘& Juliet’ star @justindvdsullvn is making their Broadway debut.
They sit down with @joefryer to reflect on the journey that got them there.
— NBC News NOW (@NBCNewsNow) January 26, 2023
Sullivan claimed that empowering other non-binary individuals and performers was a factor in the decision.
“We recognize that the current acting categories are not fully inclusive, and we are currently in discussion about how to best adjust them to address this,” the groups said. “Unfortunately, we are still in process on this and our rules do not allow us to make changes once a season has begun. We are working thoughtfully to ensure that no member of our community feel excluded.”