'9-1-1: Lone Star' Actor Ronen Rubinstein: 'I Fully Identify As Bisexual'

The 27-year-old said his portrayal of T.K. Strand, a young gay man, on the Fox series was both a personal and professional turning point.

Ronen Rubinstein is crediting his current role with helping him come to terms with his authentic self.

The 27-year-old actor opened up about his sexuality for the first time publicly this week, telling Variety in an interview published Wednesday that his portrayal of a gay man on “9-1-1: Lone Star” inspired him to come out.

“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.”

His “journey” toward self-acceptance, he said, was prompted in part by his “Lone Star” character. He plays T.K. Strand, the gay son of Owen Strand (Rob Lowe) who is in a relationship with Carlos Reyes (Rafael L. Silva), a future police officer.

“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 said, referring to the “ship name” viewers have created for T.K. and Carlos.

The Israeli native, who was raised in Staten Island, New York, said witnessing anti-LGBTQ behavior during his teenage years had left him fearful of “embracing how I felt.”

“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. ... 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.”

Rubinstein went on to credit longtime girlfriend Jessica Parker Kennedy for her support, though admits she’ll playfully jibe him about it from time to time.

She’s like, ‘I love you for who you are, your full self and people will love you for who you are and your full self,’” he said. “She just sometimes jokes, ‘Just don’t leave me for Harry Styles.’”

Later on Wednesday, Rubinstein tweeted a special thank you to his fans for the support he’d received after the interview was published.

In addition to “9-1-1: Lone Star,” Rubinstein’s credits include
Orange Is the New Black” and the Freeform series “Dead of Summer.”