Billy Dee Williams, the actor best known for portraying the dashing Lando Calrissian in the 1980s Star Wars movies, has revealed that he identifies as gender fluid, and that he uses both masculine and feminine pronouns.
Williams revealed that he identifies as gender fluid in a recent interview with Esquire magazine published on Tuesday.
“I never tried to be anything except myself. And you see I say ‘himself’ and ‘herself,’ because I also see myself as feminine as well as masculine,” the 82-year-old star said. “I’m a very soft person. I’m not afraid to show that side of myself.”
Williams also described himself as a “relatively colorful character who doesn’t take himself or herself too seriously,” and who has “never tied to be anything except” that.
Williams’ much-loved character, Lando Calrissian, was Hans Solo’s co-smuggler and gambler friend. He was the administrator of Cloud City on the gas planet Bespin, and later a general in the Rebel Alliance. The character appeared in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983).
Williams is also reprising his role as Lando Calrissian in Stars Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, scheduled to premiere in theaters on December 20, after Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) portrayed Lando in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).
Twitter users have been reacting to Williams’ declaration of his gender fluidity.
Billy Dee Williams talking about his preferred pronouns and feelings about his gender identity at age 82 just makes my heart melt. I love this man so much. So happy to be seeing him onscreen again. https://t.co/3jNc56Dnrk pic.twitter.com/AyHnCOpU6k
— della – pro black magic ambassador (@della_morte_) November 27, 2019
Billy Dee Williams comes out as non-binary and gender fluid. So good to see a Black elder living her /his authentic life. ?? https://t.co/vNoY9gDUzL
— Campbell X (@CampbellX) November 29, 2019
Lando Calrissian is gender fluid… best day ever. https://t.co/qgqHBEHgEL
— Danger Dyke (@Vexina_) December 2, 2019
What is gender fluid?
Gender fluidity is part of a broader spectrum of gender identities known as non-binary because they are not exclusively masculine or feminine.
Gender-fluid people generally describe themselves as preferring to maintain a flexible gender identity without committing to a single or restrictive definition.
Gender-fluid individuals have different gender identities at different times. Their gender identity varies over time between male, female, or third gender (other-gendered). It can vary over a short period of time or many years of their life. But some experience their gender fluidity as constantly fluctuating, depending on the situation or how they feel at any moment.
Some see themselves in terms that approximate an androgynous identity.
Other gender-fluid individuals are bigender (shifting between male and female gender identities), while others are trigender, that is, shifting between male, female, and third gender identity. Some even experience themselves as agender or genderless (that is, lacking a gender identify) in-between transitions.
While many gender-fluid individuals shift between the use of masculine, feminine, and neutral pronouns, depending on which gender identity they have assumed at any point in time, others prefer a permanently neutral or androgynous expression of their identity.