Actor, Tyler Blacburn, who played Caleb over seven seasons of Pretty Little Liars and is currently starring on the CW series Roswell, New Mexico, finally feels like he can live his truth. Tyler Blackburn said he's bisexual in an interview for The Advocate's April issue. In a series of moving quotes with the outlet, Blackburn opened up about the "self-hatred and shame" filled days of his past. But he said he's at a point in his life, partially inspired by his character on Roswell who is gay, to be "as happy as possible, as free as possible."
"I'm queer," Blackburn said during his interview with The Advocate. "I've identified as bisexual since a teenager. I just want to feel powerful in my own skin, and my own mind, and in my own heart."
Blackburn said he had maintained an "underlying curiosity about men" for years but resisted easy categorization about his sexuality. "I heard so many things from within the queer community about bisexuality being a cop-out or bullsh*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," Blackburn explained. "And I think for the longest time, I suppressed more of my attraction to men. It wasn't until my late 20s, toward 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 said childhood bullying about his sensitivity lingered far beyond high school, and caused him to build walls that he's just now able to break through. "You form a shell around yourself for protection," Blackburn said in the same interview. "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."
But after years of exploring his identity, Blackburn revealed he's in place where he can be who he is completely now. He took time to share his hopes for the future with The Advocate. "I just want to live my truth and feel OK with experiencing love and experiencing self-love," Blackburn revealed. "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 went on to express his excitement over a time in which he can talk about his sexuality freely. "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 noted. "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."
By revealing his truth, Blackburn is getting one step closer to freedom and allowing others to feel empowered to do the same.