Tyler Blackburn has revealed that he is queer.
The 32-year-old Roswell, New Mexico actor opened up during a new interview with The Advocate.
“I’m queer. I’ve identified as bisexual since a teenager,” he told the outlet, adding that he’s always had an “underlying curiosity” about men.
“I got bullied a lot by other boys [growing up], and I just felt like my soul was slowly being taken from me,” he continued. “I ended up eating lunch in my biology classroom in 10th grade, and I had no one to talk to. You form a shell around yourself for protection. And you start to make decisions based off of things outside of what you want and who you are. I stopped doing so many of the things that I loved doing because it felt safer. That right there is the outcome of oppression. When you literally have to mute who you are in order to feel safe. That’s soul-crushing.”
Click inside to hear what else he had to say…
“I heard so many things from within the queer community about bisexuality being a cop-out or bulls–t or the easy way out or something, and that always stuck with me because I felt the pressure from all sides to have [my sexuality] figured out,” he said. “And I think for the longest time, I suppressed more of my attraction to men. It wasn’t until my late 20s, towards the end of Pretty Little Liars, that I really allowed myself to go there and not just wonder about it or lust over it, but experience that vulnerability and experience the emotional aspect of what it is to be bisexual.”
In Roswell: New Mexico, Tyler plays an openly gay character, Sgt. Alex Manes. “I knew this guy in and out,” Tyler shared. “I understood feeling oppressed. I understood having issues with my father [wanting to feel] accepted by him. I understood wanting something but being afraid to have it. I understood self-doubt.”
“I’m so tired of caring so much,” he added. “I just want to live my truth and feel OK with experiencing love and experiencing self-love. Yes, there is an element of, I want to feel like it’s OK to hold my boyfriend’s hand as I’m walking down the street, and not worry. Is someone going to look and be like, ‘Whoa, is that guy from that show? I didn’t know that [he was queer.]‘ I want to own my space now.”
“Now we’re at a place where fluidity is spoken about in such a beautiful way that it doesn’t make me feel as pressured to have it figured out,” he said. “My goal above everything is to feel as happy as possible. As free as possible. I don’t just mean happy, like, ‘I’m laughing all day, every day.’ That’s actually insane. That’s impossible. What I mean is, I want to feel free.”