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In an effort to be “as happy as possible, as free as possible,” Tyler Blackburn opened up about his sexuality for the first time in a new interview.
Now 32, the Los Angeles native said he was in longterm relationships with women throughout his 20s but had an “underlying curiosity” about men. Like many bisexual people, he initially felt pressure to adhere to “gay” or “straight” labels, even though he identified with neither.
“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,” Blackburn explained. “And I think for the longest time, I suppressed more of my attraction to men.”
“It wasn’t until my late 20s … 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,” he added.
In talking about his sexuality publicly, Blackburn said, “I just want to feel powerful in my own skin, and my own mind, and in my own heart.”
On “Roswell, New Mexico,” his current TV series, Blackburn plays Alex Manes, a gay war veteran and amputee. He views the role as a “big responsibility,” given the debate over LGBTQ people in the military as well as the scarcity of amputee characters on television and film.
He said playing Alex has had a personal impact, too, reminding him that it’s important not to live his life only to make others comfortable.
“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.”
“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 added.