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13 Reasons Why star Tommy Dorfman: ‘Everybody knew I was gay before I did’

By Will Stroude

Tommy Dorfman was a teenage tearaway who ended up in rehab at the age of 20. But the up-an-coming actor, now 24, turned his life around and now has a starring role in 13 Reasons Why.

In Attitude’s June issue – available to download and in shops now – Tommy, who plays gay student Ryan Shaver in the hit Netflix drama series, opens up about his own high school experiences, revealing that he was involved with much older men as a young teenager.

“Everyone know I was gay before I did,” Tommy laughs. “I got bullied for wearing girls’ clothes, so I stopped and I started wearing guys’ clothes and tried to butch up.

“I was worried about being femme in any way. I was trying to hook up with girls in middle school. They hated it.

“And then in freshman years of high school I met this guy who a junior [two years above] and I fell in love with him. I was 14. He never actually became my boyfriend but it opened me up and I came out.”

Explaining that the relationship was “primarily physical”, the Atlanta native continues: “I didn’t realise you could have physical relationships without being ‘in’ a relationship. Then I started dating older guys for a while in high school because there weren’t any gay kids when I was growing up.”

Pressed on just how much older the men he was dating as a high school student were, Tommy touches on the darker side of gay teenage isolation.

“In their twenties, when I was 14 or 15,” he admits. “Because I had a fake ID, I was going out. That was where I met gay people.”

You can see Tommy’s full show and interview in Attitude’s June issue, which also includes our 100 Bachelors of the Year. Buy in printsubscribe or download now.

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