In a recent interview, Israeli-American actor Ronen Rubinstein publicly announced that he identifies as bisexual.
The 27-year-old Rubinstein is best known for his roles as Nathan in the Netflix dramedy Orange is the New Black
and as Tyler Kennedy "TK" Strand in the Fox drama 9-1-1: Lone Star
, which was created by out producer Ryan Murphy. Murphy is also part of the creative force behind Glee, Pose
, and American Horror Story
Rubinstein's character on 9-1-1: Lone Star
, which ends its second season on April 19, is openly gay. In the series, TK is in a relationship with police officer Carlos Reyes, played by openly gay actor Rafael L. Silva.
Rubinstein told Variety
that playing gay helped him come to terms with and accept his own sexuality.
"I fully identify as bisexual," Rubinstein said. "I literally just got goosebumps saying that. It feels so good to talk about it, it feels so good to finally be comfortable with it."
"The biggest thing for me is where I come from, it's like people like me and people who have identified as bisexual or gay or as any part of the community, you're just not welcomed. It's as brutally honest as that," he said. "It's either you faced insane amounts of profanity, like the F-word was thrown around all the time or you would get your ass kicked if you were gay. So there was definitely a fear of sort of embracing how I felt. I was definitely more aware of it in high school. I was aware of my feelings and how I started looking at men, but I couldn't talk to anybody about it."
"I want people to know that this is a hopeful and a happy story. I want people to know that they're not alone and it's definitely okay. Trust me, I know that it is not easy. My path has not been easy at all, but it's just one more thing that I can share with people to help them and let them know that I'm here for them," he said.
Rubinstein said that his girlfriend Jessica Parker Kennedy encouraged him to be open about his sexuality.
"She's actually one of the first people that sort of respectfully called me out on it," Rubinstein said
. "She's like, 'Is there something we need to talk about?' And I said, 'Maybe.' I didn't know how that conversation would go. And it went probably as good as it can go. She definitely encouraged me to be vocal about it, just to live my truth. She's like, 'I love you for who you are, [be] your full self and people will love you for who you are and your full self.'"