The Flash's Keiynan Lonsdale says starring in gay teen comedy-drama Love Simon played a big part in his decision to come out publicly last summer.
The 26-year-old Australian actor, who plays Wally West/Kid Flash on The CW superhero series, announced that he was romantically interested in both men and women in a heartfelt Instagram post last summer while shooting the movie, which is directed by The Flash producer Greg Berlanti.
At the time, Lonsdale, said he finally felt ready to "take the next step" and be open about his sexuality after spending "years" hating himself because of who he was.
Now, the rising star has revealed that his decision to come out was partly inspired by working on Love, Simon and seeing Berlanti on set with his husband, former Premiership footballer Robbie Rogers, and their young son.
"Doing Love, Simon was really inspiring for me," Lonsdale told OUT. "I thought, Wow, I’m doing a film about equality and coming out, and the director has his partner and their child on set, and everyone’s so supportive and loving, and yet here I am still hiding. At what point am I going to be able to be myself?
He added: "I realised it had nothing to do with anyone else. It was just me holding myself back."
Based on the book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Love, Simon tells the story of a closeted high school senior Simon (Jurassic World's Nick Robinson), whose life is turned upside down after a classmate threatens to out him.
Lonsdale, who plays one of Simon's friends and classmates in the film, said that attempting to keep his sexuality a secret in public had became "a full-time job" which was theratening his own personal happiness.
"I was making decisions based on fear," the Sydney-born star explained.
"I was altering my personality and the photos I’d put up on social media and the emojis I’d use - every little thing. It was a full-time job."
He went on: "What that does is keep building shame, without you even realising it. Honestly, I didn’t come out to inspire others. I couldn’t actually process anybody else’s thoughts, because that’s what was keeping me afraid.
"I did it for myself, but then, once I realised the effect it had on other people, it became this beautiful thing.
"And I can go anywhere now and be me. I’m a better actor, a better musician, and a better person."
Love, Simon hits cinemas in the US on March 16 and in the Uk on April 6. Check out the trailer below: