Riverdale’s Tommy Martinez Opens Up About Experience with a Man

“I was put into the shadows, because the way that my community was,” said the actor during a Good Trouble panel.

Actor Tommy Martinez opened up about his sexuality at a Los Angeles panel for Freeform’s The Fosters spinoff Good Trouble last night.

Following a screener of the new LGBT inclusive series, Martinez took the stage along with costars Sherry Cola and Zuri Adele as well as executive producers Peter Paige, Joanna Johnson, and Bradley Bredeweg to chat about the show. During the panel, Martinez opened up about his similarities with his character, Gael, who is bisexual on the show.

“With his sexuality, in the places I grew up in, it was something that was never talked about, nor was it ever challenged,” began Martinez, The Advocate reports. “I know plenty of people from my high school that are gay but are still not out to this day.”

The 26-year-old then emotionally opened up about his past:

“I had an experience with a man maybe 10 years ago and this is the first time that I’m saying that publicly. Throughout that whole time, I felt like I was put into the shadows, because the way that my community was, the way that they spoke about [LGBTQ people], [the] Hispanic community, it’s not only just them, but they are very religious and strict on what they believe it, but same with many other people in the world and here in America.”

“The way that they talked about homosexuality or even just experiencing something like that with slurs or what have you, my friend said the same thing, so I had nobody to talk to about [my own experience].”

He went on:

“And I kept that inside the whole time until now. And to have this opportunity to portray this character and this community, I felt, especially in front of you wonderful people, I felt maybe this is the best place to express that. And so I saw myself completely in Gael’s shoes. And so when I got that audition notice and dove deeper into the character, I just felt right with it.”

The Advocate reports that “the room erupted in applause of support when Martinez finished his story.”

Good Trouble premieres tonight on Freeform. Watch the panel in the video below.