Billy Dee Williams Says His Gender Remarks Were Misinterpreted: 'What the Hell Is Gender Fluid?'

The 'Star Wars' actor clarified his viral comments in a new interview.

Billy Dee Williams

Image via Getty/Ben Gabbe

Billy Dee Williams

Billy Dee Williams isn't gender fluid after all. In fact, he doesn't even know what that term means.

In a recent interview with Esquire magazine, the 82-year-old actor described himself using both male and female pronouns, suggesting he had rejected the gender binary. 

"I never tried to be anything except myself. I think of myself as a relatively colorful character who doesn't take himself or herself too seriously," he told the outlet. "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."

This statement naturally led many to believe that Williams had come out as gender fluid—someone who does not identify, nor express themselves, with one fixed gender. But despite the fact that he uses both male and female pronouns when referring to himself, the veteran actor insists he identifies strictly as a male.

He clarified his comments in an interview with Undefeated, stating he was simply talking about the ways men can embrace their feminine side.

"Well, first of all, I asked last night. I said, 'What the hell is gender fluid?’ That’s a whole new term," Williams said. "But what I was talking about was about men getting in touch with their softer side of themselves. 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."

It became more clear that Williams truly didn't know what gender fluidity was, as it seemed he had conflated it with sexual fluidity.

"I was talking about men getting in touch with the female side of themselves. I wasn’t talking about sex, I wasn’t talking about being gay or straight," he said. "People should read [Jung]. I mean, it would be an interesting education for a lot of people."

You can read Williams' full interview at Undefeated. The actor also speaks about reprising his role as Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which hits theaters Dec. 20.

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