Ronen Rubinstein took a big leap for bi visibility Thursday when he came out in an interview with out Variety journalist Marc Malkin.
With a bit of anxiety and excitement, the 27-year-old actor spoke about how his gay character on 9-1-1: Lone Star -- where he plays Rob Lowe's paramedic son on the Fox drama -- helped him accept his bisexual identity. On the show, Rubinstein's character, T.K. Strand, develops a passionate romance with an aspiring police officer, Carlos Reyes, portrayed by out actor Rafael L. Silva.
"Tarlos," as the fans dubbed the couple, solidified Rubinstein's courage. "The fans, especially the Tarlos fans, it's one of the biggest reasons that I finally felt safe and comfortable to talk about it and to finally embrace it and be happy about it," Rubinstein told Malkin.
The actor was encouraged in his coming out by Silva, out show creator Ryan Murphy, and his girlfriend, Jessica Parker Kennedy.
"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 27-year-old Rubinstein still felt trepidation about coming out, partly because of his upbringing in the conservative New York borough of Staten Island.
"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 says. "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."
But Rubinstein is putting his past in the past and embracing his new role model status. "I want people to know that this is a hopeful and a happy story," he said.