'Pretty Little Liars' star Tyler Blackburn comes out as bisexual

In an effort to be “as happy as possible, as free as possible,” Tyler Blackburn opened up about his sexuality for the first time in a new interview.

“I’m queer,” the star of “Pretty Little Liars” and “Roswell, New Mexico” told The Advocate in an interview published Friday. “I’ve identified as bisexual since a teenager.”

Now 32, the Los Angeles native said he was in longterm relationships with women throughout his 20s but had an “underlying curiosity” about men. Like many bisexual people, he initially felt pressure to adhere to “gay” or “straight” labels, even though he identified with neither. 

“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,” Blackburn explained. “And I think for the longest time, I suppressed more of my attraction to men.”

“It wasn’t until my late 20s ... 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. 

In talking about his sexuality publicly, Blackburn said, “I just want to feel powerful in my own skin, and my own mind, and in my own heart.”

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AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 09: Tyler Blackburn attends Entertainment Weekly + Amazon Prime Video's 'Saints & Sinners' Party At SXSW on March 9, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly)
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 31: (L-R) Tyler Blackburn and Michael Vlamis of The CW's 'Roswell, New Mexico' pose for a portrait during the 2019 Winter TCA at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 31, 2019 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Robby Klein/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 28: Tyler Blackburn arrives at the Los Angeles Premiere Screening Of 'Velvet Buzzsaw' at American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre on January 28, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 26: Tyler Blackburn attends the Entertainment Weekly Pre-SAG Party Arrivals at Chateau Marmont on January 26, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 06: Tyler Blackburn attends the 'Hello Again' New York premiere at Cinepolis Chelsea on November 6, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 25: Actor Tyler Blackburn arrives at The Paley Center For Media's 34th Annual PaleyFest Los Angeles - 'Pretty Little Liars' at Dolby Theatre on March 25, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 25: Cast of Pretty Little Liars attends PaleyFest Los Angeles 2017 - 'Pretty Little Liars' at Dolby Theatre on March 25, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
PRETTY LITTLE LIARS - 'Till Death Do Us Part' - Seven seasons of secrets come tumbling out in the two-hour series finale of Freeforms hit original series 'Pretty Little Liars,' airing TUESDAY, JUNE 27 (8:00 - 10:01 p.m. EDT). Immediately following the finale, stars Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell and Sasha Pieterse, as well as executive producer I. Marlene King, will sit down for an hour-long unbarred and uncensored tell-all after-show to discuss all of the series tightly held secrets, behind-the-scenes insights, and top moments. Fans can catch up on all of the drama with an all-day marathon of season seven starting at 11:00 a.m. EDT and running up to the two-hour series finale at 8:00 p.m. EDT. (Eric McCandless/Freeform via Getty Images) TYLER BLACKBURN, SHAY MITCHELL, SASHA PIETERSE, TROIAN BELLISARIO, ASHLEY BENSON
PRETTY LITTLE LIARS - 'Till Death Do Us Part' - Seven seasons of secrets come tumbling out in the two-hour series finale of Freeforms hit original series 'Pretty Little Liars,' airing TUESDAY, JUNE 27 (8:00 - 10:01 p.m. EDT). Immediately following the finale, stars Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell and Sasha Pieterse, as well as executive producer I. Marlene King, will sit down for an hour-long unbarred and uncensored tell-all after-show to discuss all of the series tightly held secrets, behind-the-scenes insights, and top moments. Fans can catch up on all of the drama with an all-day marathon of season seven starting at 11:00 a.m. EDT and running up to the two-hour series finale at 8:00 p.m. EDT. (Eric McCandless/Freeform via Getty Images) TYLER BLACKBURN, KEEGAN ALLEN, SASHA PIETERSE
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On “Roswell, New Mexico,” his current TV series, Blackburn plays Alex Manes, a gay war veteran and amputee. He views the role as a “big responsibility,” given the debate over LGBTQ people in the military as well as the scarcity of amputee characters on television and film. 

He said playing Alex has had a personal impact, too, reminding him that it’s important not to live his life only to make others comfortable. 

“I just want to live my truth and feel OK with experiencing love and experiencing self-love,” he told The Advocate. “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,” Blackburn added. 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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