Non-binary Yellowjackets star Liv Hewson pulls out of Emmys race over gendered categories

Yellowjackets star Liv Hewson

Nonbinary Yellowjackets star Liv Hewson, who plays young Van in the queer survival series, has slammed the Emmys for their gendered categories.

If you’ve seen either season of queer cannibal romp Yellowjackets, you’ll know that the entire cast – both the present day and past iterations of the characters stranded in the Canadian wilderness following a life-altering plane crash – put in absolute powerhouse performances across the board.

We have Melanie Lysnkey‘s star turn as Shauna Shipman, Christina Ricci‘s manipulative Misty Quigley and Lauren Ambrose as adult Vanessa ‘Van’ Palmer – with Liv Hewson playing her younger counterpart.

Over the course of the series, Hewson’s portrayal of Van has stood out from the rest of the ensemble cast, with the actor guiding their character through all the regular trials and tribulations of girlhood, like wolf attacks and cannibalistic cults.

So strong has their performance been, in fact, that the words ‘Emmy nominee‘ could easily apply to Hewson – until recently, when the non-binary actor firmly laid that idea to rest over the ceremony’s strictly gendered categories.

Despite being eligible to submit their work for all main acting categories, Liv Hewson told Variety that they would not be putting themselves forward for this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards.

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“There’s not a place for me in the acting categories,” they said.

“It would be inaccurate for me to submit myself as an actress. It neither makes sense for me to be lumped in with the boys. It’s quite straightforward and not that loaded.

“I can’t submit myself for this because there’s no space for me.”

Liv Hewson and Jasmin Savoy Brown as younger versions of their characters in Yellowjackets. (Showtime)

Hewson also told Variety that they did not buy into the idea that removal of gendered categories would end up erasing women from awards altogether:

“There is an implied fatalism there, which suggests that we’ve all agreed that equality is impossible. And that’s sad,” they said.

“We’re not going to start awarding best female and male director, or female or male cinematographer. Because we all understand that implicitly would be insulting. You can keep things as they are right now — I just won’t be participating.”

The push for non-gendered categories at the Primetime Emmy Awards is not unique to Liv Hewson.

In 2017, non-binary Billions star Asia Kate Dillon penned an impassioned letter to the TV Academy highlighting their concern that there seemed to be “no room for my identity” at the awards ceremony.

Actors currently have the opportunity to ask for their awards statuettes to read “performer”, should they win, and in response to Dillon, the Television Academy said “anyone can submit under either category for any reason”.

“No performer category titled ‘actor’ or ‘actress’ has ever had a gender requirement for submissions,” the Television Academy said in a statement in 2021.

“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’.”

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