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August 20, 2018 at 05:18 PM EDT

Garrett Clayton, the star of Disney Channel’s Teen Beach Movie and NBC’s Hairspray Live, has come out as gay.

Discussing the politically charged nature of his new film Reach — in which he plays a teen contemplating suicide — Clayton, 27, reveals he has been dating a man named Blake Knight “for a long time” in an Instagram post Monday.

“REACH deals with some very serious and timely topics that have affected me personally, and have likely influenced many of your lives as well,” wrote Clayton, who played gay porn star Brent Corrigan in 2016’s King Cobra. “(I also prefer to share things that are particularly important for me here on my IG) instead of in some random magazine or online article – because you are the ones that have been rooting for me and following me on my professional and personal journey in life.”

“When I read the script for REACH, I immediately knew it was a film I had to be a part of. I have personally dealt with suicide within my own family, intense bullying in high school, and – on top of it all – myself and the man I’ve been in a relationship with for a long time (@hrhblakeknight) have both experienced shootings within our hometown school systems, and have witnessed the heartache that takes place in affected communities after such tragic events,” he continued. “These topics – not always easy to discuss- are all close to my heart, and, knowing how serious they are, I wanted to share this with you all. This film has come from the perspectives of people who care deeply about these issues, and if watching it helps even one person… then it was all worth it.”

Reach is slated to premiere Oct. 19.

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