Over the weekend, Billy Dee Williams, best known for playing Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars movies, revealed that he uses both male and female pronouns to describe his identity.
During an interview with Esquire’s Matt Miller, the 82-year-old actor brought up, twice, that they use both kinds of pronouns—first when describing their sense of self: “I 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,” and later on stating:
In a simple tan button-up, with his hair slicked back, Williams continues his analysis of cool: “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.”
The interview also brings up that Donald Glover, who played a younger version of the Lando character in Solo, said that Lando was pansexual during that movie’s press tour, and Williams praised Glover for his “brilliance” and apparently “lights up” hearing that. (I also haven’t seen Solo, Billy Dee, so I get it). Plus, let’s not forget that what made Lando such a great character was the fact that he was this smooth-talking romantic guy, with great style, and loved his boyfriend Han and his boyfriend’s girlfriend, Leia.
“What I presented on that screen people didn’t expect to see,” Williams told Esquire, “and I deliberately presented something that nobody had experienced before: a romantic brown-skinned boy.”
A lot has been brought up about whether this means that the actor is gender fluid, non-binary, etc. For me, I don’t think that one necessarily means the other, but at the same time, what this does do is bring more visibility to the fact that the idea of living beyond the gender binary is not new. Regardless of the label that Williams uses, he is breaking the idea that these labels and feelings are the inventions of today’s 20-something “liberal snowflakes” looking to destroy norms.
To see an older Black person comfortable with being somewhere along a queer spectrum is beautiful all on its own. It’s representation to a lot of men and also a gateway to show older members of their family that they are not “made up.” As I said when Sophie Turner came out as being bi/pan, the label doesn’t matter as much as being open with your authentic truth.
Plus, with Lando now being pansexual and Williams using male and female pronouns, I think Lando Calrissian could take on Jack Harkness on who could bag the most cuties in space. Star Wars is gay, and I wish the people behind the scenes would just finally give us the onscreen rep that we need, because at this point, it just makes them look silly.
(via HuffPo, image: Lucasfilm/Disney)
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