Entertainment

Billy Dee Williams praised for using gender-fluid pronouns

'I see myself as feminine as well as masculine'

(CNN) - At 82 years old, Billy Dee Williams has no problem embracing all parts of himself.

The "Star Wars" actor talked to Esquire in a recent interview about just that.

"And you see I say 'himself' and 'herself,' because I also see myself as feminine as well as masculine," he was quoted as saying. "I'm a very soft person. I'm not afraid to show that side of myself."

Williams starred as Lando Calrissian in the hit 1980 film "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" and is reprising the character in the forthcoming "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,"

Donald Glover portrayed that character in 2018's "Solo: A Star Wars Story" and stirred some conversation when he talked about the character being pansexual.

Merriam-Webster defines "pansexual" as "of, relating to, or characterized by sexual desire or attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation."

During the Esquire interview Williams was reminded by the interviewer that Glover had also talked about gender fluidity.

"Really? That kid is brilliant -- just look at those videos," Williams said, referencing Glover's "This Is America" video he made as his rap alter ego Childish Gambino.

Many took Williams comments to mean that he was proclaiming himself to be gender-fluid and it was met with some support on social media.

"Billy Dee Williams talking about his preferred pronouns and feelings about his gender identity at age 82 just makes my heart melt," one person tweeted. "I love this man so much. So happy to be seeing him onscreen again."

Williams has starred in a slew of projects over his career including "Mahogany" and "Lady Sings the Blues," both with Diana Ross.

He said he was most proud of his role as Gale Sayers in the 1971 TV movie "Brian's Song," for which he was nominated for an Emmy.

"It was a love story, really. Between two guys. Without sex," he said. "It ended up being a kind of breakthrough in terms of racial division."

Williams shared a bit of life philosophy as well.

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


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