23-year-old former Disney Channel star Joey Pollari has come out as gay.
When speaking about his role as Lyle in 20th Century Fox's upcoming gay teenage rom-com, Love, Simon, Pollari opened up about his sexuality with The Advocate. "[Simon's] experience was similar to mine."
Pollari came out as gay to his friends and family at age 18. "I think all my friends and family knew on some level. I think maybe two people were shocked." He adds, "My mom knew. She laid hints for me everywhere."
"The only part that was difficult was me coming out to myself. And I think that is the most difficult coming out.
Pollari struggled internally with his sexuality, "It didn't match my idea of myself. It seemed incongruent with the future I imagined for myself, the identity I had struck up with others. The interplay between me and women, me and men, now suddenly seemed entirely different. That just didn't seem fair or right."
What's it like being an out actor now? "It's a lot plainer than I thought."
Pollari believes Love, Simon, and more LGBT representation, have the power to change the world. "It meant a lot to me when I was younger. To see people who are out, to see people who are all kinds of things — people who are so clear in their anger, people who are clear about their arrogance, their pettiness, their desperation. I mean, that's why I go to the movies... I go to learn something about someone else. In a byproduct, I learn about myself. That's the power of representation."
Congrats Joey! Love, Simon hits theaters Friday, March 16. Watch the trailer below.