Entertainment brand MTV has announced plans to scrap male and female categories at this year's film and television awards, in favour of gender-neutral language.

The change means prizes will no longer be awarded for Best Actor and Best Actress, but instead credited from a communal category.

Under the new rules, Beauty and the Beast star Emma Watson will see her performance as Belle measured against Hugh Jackman's turn as Wolverine in X-Men blockbuster Logan, while Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown will join female contenders challenging The Walking Dead's Jeffrey Dean Morgan for small screen honours.

The move comes after Billions star Asia Kate Dillon, who was born female but identifies as gender non-binary, highlighted the issue of category divisions at award ceremonies.

Asia Kate Dillon
Asia Kate Dillon recently made headlines by playing Taylor in Billions, TV's first gender non-binary character Getty

Writing to the Television Academy after receiving an Emmy award nomination for their role of Taylor, an ambitious intern who is also TV's first non-binary character, the actor questioned why there was a need to "denote anatomy or identity" at such events.

Organisers wrote back explaining "anyone can submit under either category for any reason," and gave Dillon the option to choose her preferred category.

The rising star chose to considered under the banner of best supporting actor, arguing "actor" is generally considered a non-gendered word.

Sky News report that according to recent statistics, around 0.4% of the population (one in every 250 people in the UK) identify themselves as gender non-binary.

Alongside the gender shift, MTV has also introduced five new gongs this year: best American story; tearjerker; best host; best reality competition and best fight against the system.

Comedian Adam Devine will host the MTV Movie and TV Awards in Los Angeles on 7 May.