‘Pretty Little Liars’ star Tyler Blackburn comes out as queer

By : Mariah Cooper of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of the Natioan LGBT Media Association
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“Pretty Little Liars” and “Roswell” star Tyler Blackburn has come out as queer.

The 32-year-old actor opened up about his sexuality in an interview with The Advocate. “I’m queer,” Blackburn says. “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.”

Blackburn explains while he had relationships with women in his life he always had an “underlying curiosity” about men. However, the stigma about bisexuality in both the straight and gay communities prevented him from fully being himself.

“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 [my sexuality] figured out. 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,” Blackburn, who portrayed bad boy Caleb Rivers on “Pretty Little Liars,” says.

He credits his role as openly gay Sgt. Alex Manes on “Roswell” for helping him become more open.

“I knew this guy in and out,” Blackburn describes his character. “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.”

Now Blackburn just wants to feel comfortable being who he is to the public.

“I’m so tired of caring so much. 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,” Blackburn says. “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. 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.”

Photo by Renan Katayama via Wikimedia Commons.

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