Ronen Rubinstein is grateful for all of the love and support he's had since publicly opening up about his sexuality earlier this year.
During the opening festivities of Outfest (the annual, world-renowned LGBTQ+ film festival) in Los Angeles on Friday night, the 27-year-old actor and 9-1-1: Lone Star heartthrob opened up what's has been like since coming out as bisexual back in April — and he was more than happy to talk about all the positivity he's been experiencing as an out-and-proud member of the LGBTQ+ community.
"It's just been overwhelming at times," Rubinstein told Out. "I get emotional thinking about it because the beauty about it is that it's people reaching out from all over the world and saying, 'your story helped me in so many ways,' 'your story has saved my life,' or 'your story has made me comfortable and safe to come out to my family or my friends.' So it's been a whirlwind, but it's been extremely positive and a beautiful, beautiful experience."
Most notable for starring in Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Tim Minear's beloved procedural drama 9-1-1: Lone Star where he plays firefighter-turned-paramedic T.K. Strand, one-half of the series queer power couple Tarlos (alongside fellow queer actor Rafael Silva's Carlos), Rubinstein publicly came out as bisexual in an April 2021 interview with Variety, where he chronicled his personal journey to acceptance over the years.
"I fully identify as bisexual," Ronen 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."
"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. 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."
Luckily, Rubinstein's work with character like T.K. on popular shows like 9-1-1: Lone Star, queer life and love is becoming more and more normalized, helping young people realize that they can be part of the LGBTQ+ community and not have to be afraid or ashamed of who they are.
"I just wanna see these sorts of stories be normalized, and just show people existing as humans without anything horrible happening to them," Rubinstein says. "I think that's why a lot of people connect to Lone Star because T.K.'s relationship is normalized with his partner, his dad. And we're not making a huge thing out of this. So I'm excited to see more of that."
"It's an honor, but I can't take any of the credit," Rubinstein then tells Out when asked about getting to play a queer character that means so much to so many people, especially as a newly out, queer actor himself. "I gotta thank the trailblazers before me because I wouldn't be here and these characters wouldn't be here. We have to start with Ryan Murphy and Tim Minear. And the fact that these people are the ones writing these stories, are putting these stories into the world. I just get to go in front of the camera and say some pretty beautiful lines. But it always starts on the page. It always starts with the trailblazers before me. And hopefully, I can be somewhat of a trailblazer for the next generation."