(Edge) In an interview with the Advocate, "Pretty Little Liars" star Tyler Blackburn opened up about his sexuality, coming out as queer after previously identifying as bisexual.
"I'm queer. I've identified as bisexual since a teenager. I just want to feel powerful in my own skin, and my own mind, and in my own heart," he told the publication.
Blackburn, 32, also opened up about being bullied for being "effeminate" when he was younger, saying he'd eat lunch alone.
"You form a shell around yourself for protection," he told the Advocate. "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."
The actor, who now plays a gay war veteran on the CW show "Roswell, New Mexico," then talked about the stigma of identifying as bisexual in the LGBTQ community.
"I heard so many things from within the queer community about bisexuality being a cop-out or bullshit or the easy way out or something, and that always stuck with me because I felt the pressure from all sides to have [it] figured out," Blackburn 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."
He added that he's "tired of caring so much" about what others will think about him.
"I just want to live my truth and feel OK with experiencing love and experiencing self-love," Blackburn said. "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.)'"