Billy Dee Williams is clarifying his previous comments on how he views himself.
The Star Wars actor, 82, clarified comments he made to Esquire in which he said he sees himself “as feminine as well as masculine.”
His remarks were reported as Williams identifying as gender fluid, but he revealed to The Undefeated, in an interview published on Wednesday, that he had no clue what the term meant.
“Well, first of all, I asked last night. I said, ‘What the hell is gender fluid?’ That’s a whole new term,” Williams said. As for his comments to Esquire, he said he was misunderstood.
“But what I was talking about was about men getting in touch with their softer side of themselves,” the actor 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 a collective consciousness.”
Williams continued, “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,” he added. “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 gay or straight. I’m not gay — by any stretch of the imagination. Not that I have anything against gay people. But personally? Not gay.”
Sexual orientation is not the same as gender fluidity. The latter refers to people who do not identify as having a fixed gender and sometimes preferring pronouns such as “they” instead of “he” or “she.”
In late November, Williams told Esquire he “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 said. “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.”
Later this month, Williams will return as Lando in the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker for the first time since Return of the Jedi in 1983.
The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters Dec. 20.