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Billy Dee Williams Breaks Silence On Those Gay Rumors 50 Years Later

todayFebruary 26, 2024 3

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Is Billy Dee Williams gay? He’s heard the same rumors throughout his career.

Even for diehard fans, parts of Star Wars can be an uneven experience. Some projects embody the best of the franchise, while others miss the mark.

But Billy Dee Williams is a legend. As the stylish and seductive Lando Calrissian, he made a definitive mark on Star Wars when he appeared in The Empire Strikes Back.

Rumors that he is a closeted gay man have followed Williams for years. And that doesn’t seem to bother him.

Billy Dee Williams in 2019.
Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) onstage during “The Rise of Skywalker” panel at the Star Wars Celebration at McCormick Place Convention Center on April 12, 2019. (Photo Credit: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Disney)

Even in the 1970s, gay rumors followed Billy Dee Williams

In a recent interview with Page Six, the Star Wars veteran spoke about how those rumors never bothered him.

“I’ve been called a ‘Closet Queen,’” he acknowledged. “But, I don’t pay much attention to any of that.”

Queen is generally an affirming but at times a derogatory slang for a gay man. The “closet” refers to hiding in a heteronormative, homophobic society — meaning that someone is gay and knows that they are gay, but has to hide this from many people in their lives for their safety, career, or to maintain family relationships.

Billy Dee Williams in December of 2022.
Billy Dee Williams attends Critics Choice Association’s 5th Annual Celebration Of Black Cinema & Television at Fairmont Century Plaza on December 05, 2022. (Photo Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)

In early February, Billy Dee Williams released his memoir, What Have We Here?

His impressive career has spanned more than seven decades. His book also covers celebrity encounters like Marlon Brando, James Baldwin, Laurence Olivier, and Angela Lansbury. Not every famous actor he knew was in Star Wars, after all.

The almost-87=year-old actor noted that he always felt comfortable spending time around the LGBTQ+ community, attending (then secret) gay parties at the Metropolitan Opera’s basement early in his career. This is a great reminder that acceptance is not a recent invention — even if bigots would like to make it sound like one.

Billy Dee Williams in late 2019.
Billy Dee Williams participates in the global press conference for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” at the Pasadena Convention Center on December 04, 2019. (Photo Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

For Billy Dee Williams, having gay friends is just part of life

“It all seemed very normal to me,” Billy Dee Williams explained.

“I was around it all of my life,” he emphasized, “so I never really gave it much thought.”

Though bigotry is never excusable (including bigoted Star Wars “fans”), it often comes from fear of an unfamiliar “other.” People who know gay, bi, and trans folks are less likely to buy into homophobic and transphobic fearmongering.

Billy Dee Williams smiles for the camera in 2019.
Billy Dee Williams arrives at the premiere of Disney’s “Star Wars: The Rise Of The Skywalker” on December 16, 2019. (Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

In a previous book, Brian’s Song, he wrote about discussing Jungian archetypes and gender with his daughter.

“I told my daughter about it,” Williams shared. “I was talking about why men should get more in touch with the female side of themselves.”

He continued: “And then my daughter told me — the first time I ever heard the phrase — gender fluid.”

Billy Dee Williams attends a convention in 2019.
Billy Dee Williams attends Go Behind The Scenes with Walt Disney Studios during D23 Expo 2019 at Anaheim Convention Center on August 24, 2019. (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Is Billy Dee Williams genderfluid?

“My daughter was very happy to think that I was gender fluid!” Williams then quipped.

To be clear, he’s not explicitly stating that he is genderfluid. While some people explore many labels and many genders, it sounds like Williams is describing a desire to be in touch with all of who he is — not only his more masculine side.

Meanwhile, he added that the current ideological struggles “really amusing, to say the least,” from the perspective of history. To him, LGBTQ+ existing is nothing new — but a lot of people want to act like it is.

Billy Dee Williams Breaks Silence On Those Gay Rumors 50 Years Later was originally published on The Hollywood Gossip.

Written by: 98bpm Radio

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