Instagram: justindavidsullivan
Instagram: justindavidsullivan

Non-binary Broadway star Justin David Sullivan has opted out of the Tony Awards consideration due to the event’s gendered categories. 

Back in October, the popular West End musical & Juliet made its debut on Broadway. 

The show, which was written by Schitt’s Creek writer David West Read, follows the what-if scenario of the titular character choosing herself and not ending her life over Romeo Montague.

Following its release, theatre fans and critics lauded the coming-of-age jukebox musical for its comedic content and creative storylines.

Attendees also praised the performances of Lorna Courtney and Sullivan, who portrayed Juliet Capulet and the famous figure’s non-binary friend May, respectively.

On 1 February, the Tony Awards Administration Committee announced that the show was eligible for award nominations at the 2023 award ceremony. 

However shortly after the committee’s announcement, Sullivan revealed that they opted out of consideration due to the Tony’s gendered categories. 

The young talent, who goes by he/she/they pronouns, opened up about their decision in a lengthy statement on Instagram.

“As a non-binary performer playing a non-binary principal role on Broadway, I have been asked by many what I plan on doing about this year’s award season nomination categories,” they wrote. 

“While I was thrilled to see that some are eliminating gender from their nomination categories, I was disheartened to learn that the Tony Awards are not planning on making this year’s nomination categories more inclusive of gender expansive or trans non-binary performers like myself.” 

They went on to say that after they were told to “choose between” two gendered categories, they decided to “abstain” from consideration.  



“I could not, in good faith, move forward with denying any part of my identity to conform to a system and structure that does not hold space for people like me,” they added. 

Following their heartfelt statement, the producers of & Juliet showcased their support for the New York-based talent in a joint statement to Deadline. 

“The production worked closely with Justin and their team, and we’re fully supportive of Justin’s request not to be considered for eligibility in either the Featured Actress or Featured Actor category,” they said. 

While Sullivan is no longer submitting their & Juliet performance, the Tony Awards Foundation have announced its intentions to make its categories more inclusive for future award shows. 

“We recognise that the current acting categories are not fully inclusive, and we are currently in discussion about how to best adjust them to address this,” they said in a statement. 

“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 feels excluded on the basis of gender identity in future seasons. 

Aside from the Tonys, award shows like the BRIT and ARIA Awards have already ditched gender-specific categories.