'Heroes' Star Zachary Quinto: I'm "A Gay Man"

The actor comes out, saying that he made the choice to acknowledge his sexuality in the wake of a gay teenager's suicide

Zachary Quinto has come out of the closet, in hopes that he can help stop gay bullying.

In a new interview for New York magazine, the actor -- best known as Sylar on Heroes and Spock in the 2009 Star Trek film -- speaks for the first time about being a gay man, and how his sexuality illuminates the roles he plays. The topic comes up when Quinto, 34, is asked about his recent off-Broadway performance in the wrenching AIDS-era drama Angels in America, which he calls "the most challenging thing I've ever done as an actor and the most rewarding."

"And at the same time, as a gay man, it made me feel like there's still so much work to be done," he says, "and there’s still so many things that need to be looked at and addressed."

In the past, Quinto has dodged questions about his sexual orientation, and kept audiences guessing by playing both straight roles (a love interest in the Anna Faris rom-com What's Your Number?) and gay characters (the interior designer he'll play this season on FX's American Horror Story).

In a statement posted to his website on Sunday, the actor explains that the tragic suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer was what convinced him to come out.

"In light of jamey's death - it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it - is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality," writes Quinto. "Our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay lesbian bisexual and transgendered citizen of this country. Gay kids need to stop killing themselves because they are made to feel worthless by cruel and relentless bullying. Parents need to teach their children principles of respect and acceptance."

He continues by saying that he believes we're in a time of great change as a society, and he wants to help change things for the better by living "an authentic life of compassion and integrity and action."

"Jamey Rodemeyer's life changed mine," he concludes, "and while his death only makes me wish that i had done this sooner - i am eternally grateful to him for being the catalyst for change within me.  Now i can only hope to serve as the same catalyst for even one other person in this world. That - i believe - is all that we can ask of ourselves and of each other."

One thing that Quinto hasn't yet revealed is whether he's in a relationship. He's been widely linked with openly gay Glee actor Jonathan Groff, and hasn't been shy about appearing with him in public. (They were even spotted on a double date with Lea Michele and her boyfriend in April!) If they're indeed together, they may be the most handsome couple on Earth.

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