Alex Newell, J. Harrison Ghee Make History As First Out Nonbinary Actors To Win Tonys

Newell and Ghee were also the first openly nonbinary actors to earn Tony nominations.

Alex Newell and J. Harrison Ghee didn’t hold back as they embraced their identities seconds after making history as the first out nonbinary actors to win a Tony Awards on Sunday.

The performers ― who use the pronouns he, she and they ― already made history prior to the ceremony as the first openly nonbinary actors nominated at the Tonys.

And neither actor let the monumental moments slip away as they made their acceptance speeches.

“Thank you for seeing me, Broadway. I should not be up here, as a queer, nonbinary, fat, Black little baby from Massachusetts,” said Newell, who took home the Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for their performance as Lulu in the Broadway musical “Shucked.”

“And to anyone who thinks they can’t do it, I’m going to look you dead in your face that you can do anything you put your mind to.”

Newell’s win follows several memorable roles over their career prior to “Shucked,” including their time as Unique Adams on “Glee” and Mo on “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.”

Ghee, who stars in “Some Like It Hot,” shouted out their mother as they accepted the Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical.

“For every trans, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming human who ever was told you couldn’t be, you couldn’t be seen, this is for you,” Ghee said.

The pair’s wins come 14 years after Karen Olivo won the Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for their role as Anita in “West Side Story.”

Olivo announced that they were nonbinary and used they/them pronouns via Instagram in 2021.

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