March 16, 2018 at 11:52 am EST | by Mariah Cooper
‘Love, Simon’ star Joey Pollari comes out as gay

Joey Pollari (Photo courtesy of Instagram)

“Love, Simon” star Joey Pollari has come out as gay.

Pollari, who portrays Simon’s potential love interest Lyle in the film, revealed to the Advocate that he had a similar coming out experience as Simon. The actor explains that he came out to his family and friends when he was 18.

“I think all my friends and family knew on some level. I think maybe two people were shocked,” Pollari, 23,  says.

He says his mother knew before he came out and “laid hints for me everywhere.”

However, the hardest part was coming out to himself.

“The only part that was difficult was me coming out to myself. And I think that is the most difficult coming-out,” Pollari says. “A lot of the trouble was self-shame. I do believe a system of power, of patriarchy, of masculinity, did impact me. The greatest difficulty I found was that it didn’t match my idea of myself. It seemed incongruent with the future I imagined for myself, the identity I had struck up with others. The interplay between me and women, me and men, now suddenly seemed entirely different. That just didn’t seem fair or right.”

Now, he feels it’s important to come out publicly to help anyone who is closeted.

“It’s part of my goal to be more transparent, especially in the public sphere. I think that’s a good thing. Anybody who’s out? It was helpful to me when I was in the closet. I think just adding another voice there is a good thing to do,” Pollari says.

“Love, Simon” is currently in theaters.

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