Billy Dee Williams, known for his roles in “Mahogany” and “Star Wars,” started a spirited conversation last week when he revealed in an Esquire interview that he sees “feminine as well as masculine” as a part of his identity.
After the congratulatory messages and some confusion from fans, Williams clarified in a new Undefeated interview that he is not familiar with the term “gender fluid” and flatly states “I’m not gay.”
In the Esquire interview Williams, 82, said:
“You see, I say ‘himself’ and ‘herself,’ because I also see myself as feminine as well as masculine,” Williams told Esquire. “I’m a very soft person. I’m not afraid to show that side of myself.”
The open conversation about how he views his gender led many to surmise that Williams was speaking of himself as gender-fluid or nonbinary, which indicates an individual does not exclusively identify as either masculine or feminine, according to transequality.org.
Still, Williams in this week’s interview sought to dispute any questions about his sexuality. He said his comments were inspired by psychiatrist Carl G. Jung, who came up with the term Anima animus, representing male self and female counterparts within one’s self.
“So, that’s what I was referring to. 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. People should read [Jung]. I mean, it would be an interesting education for a lot of people.”
He goes on to say: “No, no, no, I’m not gay — by any stretch of the imagination.”
Williams, who has been married to Teruko Nakagami since 1972, never identified himself as nonbinary in the Esquire interview. The term has to do with gender identity, not sexual orientation.
Despite the comments about seeing both genders within himself, Williams said he considers himself “a very cute man,” according to the Undefeatred article.
Williams, who has been considered a debonair sex symbol for decades, created quite the buzz with his comments in the Esquire video. After clarifying his comments, fans had mixed reactions, with some noting he may have confused gender fluidity with being gay.
Williams will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian in the upcoming “The Rise of Skywalker,” the final installment of the Skywalker saga. “The Rise of Skywalker” premieres Dec. 20.
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