Pop a 9-1-1: Lone Star!
The Texas-set 9-1-1 spinoff is already popular for its queer representation. Now, series actor Ronen Rubinstein has come out as bisexual in a new Variety profile. The 27-year-old plays T.K. Strand, the gay son of Rob Lowe’s character on the show. Strand is also one-half of the fan-favorite couple known as “Tarlos,” comprising of Strand and his boyfriend, Carlos, played by out actor Rafael L. Silva.
“I fully identify as bisexual,” Rubinstein told the magazine. “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.”
FOX via Getty Images
Before 9-1-1: Lone Star, Rubinstein appeared in Orange is the New Black and Freeform’s Dead of Summer.
“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,” he continued. “It’s as brutally honest as that. 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.”
During his coming-out journey, Rubinstein spoke with 9-1-1 co-creator Ryan Murphy, Silva, and his girlfriend — yes, Rubinstein has a girlfriend — Jessica Parker Kennedy.
“She’s actually one of the first people that sort of respectfully called me out on it,” said Rubinstein when asked about Kennedy. “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, your full self and people will love you for who you are and your full self.’
“She just sometimes jokes, ’Just don’t leave me for Harry Styles.’”
Welcome to family, Ronen!
I write about drag queens. Dolly Parton once ruffled my hair and said I was “just the cutest thing ever.”