Tyler Blackburn is opening up about his sexuality.
During an interview with The Advocate, the Pretty Little Liars star, 32, revealed that he’s queer.
“I’ve identified as bisexual since a teenager,” Blackburn said.
While he’s always had an “underlying curiosity” about men, Blackburn said stereotypes about bisexuality kept him from embracing his true self.
“I heard so many things from within the queer community about bisexuality being a cop-out or bulls— or the easy way out or something,” he said. “That always stuck with me because I felt the pressure from all sides to have [my sexuality] figured out.”
But as the hit ABC drama Pretty Little Liars came to an end in 2017 after seven seasons, Blackburn began to accept his sexuality.
“For the longest time, I suppressed more of my attraction to men,” the actor said. “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.”
As for why he decided to open up about his sexual preference now, Blackburn credited positive discussions of fluidity for eliminating the pressure to “have it figured out.”
“I’m so tired of caring so much,” Blackburn, who is currently starring as a gay war veteran and amputee on Roswell, New Mexico, said. “I just want to live my truth and feel okay with experiencing love and experiencing self-love.”
“Yes, there is an element of, I want to feel like it’s okay to hold my boyfriend’s hand as I’m walking down the street, and not worry,” he continued. “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.”
But despite feeling “courageous” about his decision to come out, Blackburn admitted he still has a lot to learn about himself.
“Just because you decide ‘I am this thing’ doesn’t mean you immediately feel like you fit into that thing,” he says. “That’s another part of the journey that I still don’t always know how to navigate, but I’m feeling more courageous and fortified to explore.”
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