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Pretty Little Liars Star Tyler Blackburn Comes Out as Queer

'Pretty Little Liars' Star Tyler Blackburn Comes Out as Queer

'Pretty Little Liars' Star Tyler Blackburn Comes Out as Queer

"I want to feel free..."

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Tyler Blackburn, heartthrob of Pretty Little Liars and Roswell: New Mexico, is ready to speak his truth. 

"I'm queer," the 32-year-old told The Advocate. "I've identified as bisexual since a teenager."

Growing up, Blackburn says he always had an "underlying curiosity" about men but adolescence wasn't exactly a walk in the park. "I got bullied a lot by other boys, and I just felt like my soul was slowly being taken from me," he recalls. "I ended up eating lunch in my biology classroom in 10th grade, and I had no one to talk to. You form a shell around yourself for protection. 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."

And when trying on the bisexual label, he felt cast aside by both straight people and 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 [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."

His openly gay character on the CW's new show Roswell: New Mexico helped him live confidently in his truth. 

"I knew this guy in and out," he says of Sgt. Alex Manes. "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."

Today, Blackburn is finally ready to share his authentic self with the world. 

"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."

He continues:

"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."

Welcome to the family, Tyler! Read his full interview on The Advocate

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Taylor Henderson

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one! 

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one!