Billy Dee Williams says ‘gender fluid’ narrative about him from interview is mistaken


Billy Dee Williams participates in the global press conference for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” at the Pasadena Convention Center on December 04, 2019 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Late last week legendary actor Billy Dee Williams made headlines for after saying that he was what was interpreted as “gender fluid.” But he now says that was a miscommunication and he actually does not even know what the phrase means.

In an interview with Esquire, Williams, 82, said he used both male and female pronouns in describing himself.

READ MORE: Billy Dee Williams breaking gender binary walls down in Hollywood

“I think of myself as a relatively colorful character who doesn’t take himself or herself too seriously,” Williams told Esquire.

“And you see I say ‘himself’ and ‘herself,’ because I also see myself as feminine as well as masculine. I’m a very soft person. I’m not afraid to show that side of myself.”

In a follow-up with The Undefeated, Williams stated that not only was he misinterpreted, but he has no idea what the phrase meant. “What the hell is gender fluid,” the actor said.

“What I was talking about was about men getting in touch with their softer side of themselves,” Williams said. “There’s a phrase that was coined by Carl G. Jung, who was a psychiatrist, who was a contemporary of Sigmund Freud, and they had a splitting of the ways because they had different ideas about the … what do you call it? Consciousness. Unconscious. It’s collective unconsciousness. But he coined a phrase that’s, ‘Anima animus.’ And anima means that is the female counterpart of the male self, and the animus is the male counterpart of the female. So that’s what I was referring to.”

Williams goes on to say that he was talking about men being in touch with the female side of themselves and nothing to do with sexual identity or the act of sex itself. He would go on to say he was shocked by the headlines that followed the interview.

READ MORE: Billy Dee Williams will reprise the role of Lando Calrissian in the next ‘Star Wars’ film

“No, no, no, I’m not gay — by any stretch of the imagination. Not that I have anything against gay people. But personally? Not gay,” Williams said.

Instead, he refers to himself as a man and joked with The Undefeated that he is a “very cute man.”

Williams will return to the silver screen in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, due out Dec. 20 in his signature role of Lando Calrissian, which he portrayed in The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Return of the Jedi in 1983.



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