Hard Times of RJ Berger Star Paul Iacono: I’m Gay!

Paul Iacono arrives at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards at Universal Studios' Gibson Amphitheatre on June 5, 2011. Steve Granitz/WireImage

Life has just gotten easier for Hard Times of RJ Berger star Paul Iacono.

The actor, 23, came out as a gay man publicly in an interview with The Village Voice Wednesday. (In his new MTV show, Kenzie's Scale, he plays one half of a homosexual college couple living in New York City.)

"I'm rolling with the punches here. I was asked if I was comfortable doing gay press. I said 'Of course.' I didn't think I'd be coming out. But why not now? I think it's the right time to say something," Iacono explains. "It's not about me, it's about change and the work."

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Kenzie's Scale will "give young gays characters to look up to," Iacono promises. "It's great that we have Chris Colfer, but we need more characters. . .I didn't have much to look up to as a kid. I had to search to find like-minded images. I'm happy to be that person so kids won't have to grow up and be afraid of their sexuality and this won't be an issue."

Growing up in "a really old-school Italian traditional family in New Jersey," Iacono struggled to come to terms with his sexuality. "I tried coming out a couple of times as a kid, from 13-14 on, and was always squashed on."

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When his father discovered an email about a date with another male student, "I had to deny it," Iacono recalls. "I was just coming to terms with the fact that I was bisexual, which culturally I do identify with as a gay man — I am attracted to girls, I'm just attracted to guys much more. My father quickly stomped that. He wanted to pull me from the school. I had to feign heterosexuality for a couple of years. It messed with my head. It took me a longer time to be OK with it."

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Iacono tells The Village Voice that it wasn't "until I was 18 that I came out with my mom and 20 with my dad. I was older and able to address it from a different perspective."

The actor also has a message for gay youth who are struggling to come to terms with who they are: "All these little homos need to stop killing themselves because it does get better!"

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