"The Hard Times of RJ Berger" star Paul Iacono made headlines this week when he revealed that he's gay. The actor said he wanted to come out now because "we need to have gay pride."
"I feel really good," he told MTV News, just a day after the Village Voice posted the candid interview about his sexuality. ""I feel like a weight has been lifted that I didn't know was there. I've been out with my friends and family for five years, but coming out in a public forum like that is inspiring to myself and hopefully to other people.
"I think at the moment, we need to have gay pride, because there are so many people who don't feel as comfortable as I do," the 23-year-old continued. "And it's taken me a very long time to get to be comfortable about it, but it's our duty to the community to step forward and be vocal. I'm gay, it's cool."
The events that led to his coming out just kind of happened, he explained to us. "A lot of the work I do writing-wise tends to have gay themes, and I'm performing in a piece, in a play in New York, 'Justin Sayre Is Alive and Well ... Writing' ... and there are some gay themes in the play, and the producers asked me If I was comfortable doing gay press," he recalled.
"And I said, 'Of course,' and [writer] Michael Musto of The Village Voice sort of brought up the fact, I know him socially, [and asked] if I was comfortable coming out, and I was like, 'Why not?' I'm happy to be. I'm happy to shed some light to people who don't have the courage to do so."
He added that it was the right place and time to open up to the New York-based columnist, calling him a Big Apple "icon," adding, "I was very honored to use that forum to have this discussion."
While he's been out to his family, Iacono did want to give them a heads-up that he'd be coming out on a much bigger scale.
"I called my mom and my dad, and i just told them I was doing this, and my mom and my dad are both very New Jersey Italians, and my mom was like, 'But, yeah, you're gay already; everybody knows.' And I was like, 'No, not everyone knows. Most people assume you're straight, as crazy as that is.' I was telling my younger brother, and I was like, 'You never had to come to Mom and Dad and say, "Mom and Dad, I'm straight.'' ' It's a double standard and it's passé and it's dated and people shouldn't have to come out. I don't want anyone to roll out the pink carpet for me. I was born this way, and this is a fact of life."
Now that he has discussed his personal life, he hopes to see gay themes "reflected in art, and I think people standing up and being vocal and being visible will create a cultural eco-effect. It's life imitating art."