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Star Wars Actor Billy Dee Williams Says He Is Not Gender-Fluid

Billy Dee Williams

Billy Dee Williams broke the internet last week when he opened up about gender expression in an interview with 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," Williams said.

Many outlets, LGBTQ and mainstream, interpreted Williams's remarks to be his coming out as gender-fluid. However, the 82-year-old actor, known for originating the role of Lando Calrissian in 1980's The Empire Strikes Back, said he was misinterpreted in an interview with The Undefeated published Wednesday. 

“Well, first of all, I asked last night. I said, ‘What the hell is gender-fluid?’ That’s a whole new term,” Williams told the ESPN-owned outlet, which explores the intersection of race, culture, and sports. “But what I was talking about was about men getting in touch with their softer side of themselves."

Instead of a gender-fluid identity, Williams said he was referring to the anima, the inner feminine side of men. The concept is part of the theory of the collective unconscious created by Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology.

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

Williams said he was surprised by all of the headlines and added that he is "not gay — by any stretch of the imagination." He likely misinterpreted the meaning of gender-fluid, which is unrelated to sexuality; it is an identity used by those whose gender is not fixed.

Williams will return to the Star Wars universe as Lando in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker this December. The character was also portrayed by Donald Glover in 2018's Solo, which made headlines after the screenwriter proclaimed Lando to be pansexual.

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