“I’m queer,” he told The Advocate in his April cover story. “I’ve identified as bisexual since [I was] a teenager.”
The actor, 32, noted that he always had an “underlying curiosity” about men as he engaged in several relationships with women, which helped him realize he was neither gay nor straight. The end of one era — his role as Caleb Rivers on Pretty Little Liars, which concluded in June 2017 — opened the door to a new time in his life.
“I heard so many things from within the queer community about bisexuality being a cop-out or bulls–t 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,” he explained. “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 stars as Alex Manes on The CW’s Roswell, New Mexico. His character, a gay veteran who has a disability, opened his eyes even more. “I understood feeling oppressed. I understood having issues with my father [wanting to feel] accepted by him,” he noted. “I understood wanting something but being afraid to have it. I understood self-doubt.”
Ultimately, the Ravenswood alum decided he was “so tired of caring so much” about what others think. “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.”
Blackburn added that he feels “more courageous and fortified to explore,” while his main goal is to be “as free as possible.”
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