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Billions

The Showtime series Billions (2016 – ) created by Brian Koppelman, David Levien, and Andrew Ross Sorkin features the world of corrupt Wall Street bankers and hedge fund mangers, and the constant play between Wall Street and the law in seeking justice within a morally ambiguous world. Hedge-fund manager Bobby Axelrod (played by Damien Lewis) attempts to cheat the system, while U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (played by Paul Giamatti) works to undermine Bobby’s pursuits. The second season made media headlines for portrayal of a gender non-conforming character Taylor (played by Asia Kate Dillon) who uses the pronouns “they” and “them.” Taylor works for Bobby Axelrod and quickly rises to the top of the company as an exceptional Intern. Off screen, Asia Kate Dillon made media headlines with an appearance on the MTV Movie Awards and presenting the first ever non-gendered acting award categories. Additionally, Dillon wrote a public letter to The Emmy’s questioning the gendered distinctions of the “Best Actor” and “Best Actress” categories.

discussion

Who is Taylor? How does Billions represent a gender non-conforming character and why is that significant?

How does Taylor’s character interact with the larger world of the Wall Street banking? Is Taylor a morally ambiguous character, and if so, do her character’s traits relate (if at all) to her gender identity?

Why did Showtime make this teaser highlighting Taylor’s character? Is Taylor’s portrayal a sign of increase in LGBTQ visibility in the media?

How might we think about Taylor’s representation on screen in comparison to some of the anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ policies that have been enacted around the same time?