Actor Daniel Newman came out gay Thursday on Twitter.

“I'm OUTandPROUD #LGBT Love you guys,” he messaged. “Be proud to be yourself. We need everyone just the way you are! I'll chat with you guys tonight.”

Newman, who plays Kingdom member Daniel on AMC's The Walking Dead, later posted a video of himself in which he explained his decision to come out.

He said that he was inspired to come out by a young girl who thanked him for volunteering at an LGBT youth program despite being straight.

“And I said, 'I'm not straight,' and she said, 'Why have you never said that publicly before? You could help change our lives,'” Newman said.

“It hit me like a gut punch. It felt like someone had knocked the wind out of me.”

In comments to PEOPLE, Newman said that he grew up in a “very conservative southern Georgia home” where you “don't talk about your private life.”

“I’ve seen such a revolution in the last five years of the LGBT community – it’s been such a transformation. It’s gone from something that was a negative thing before to something that is so celebrated and a part of our culture now,” he said. “Even though I felt before that I couldn’t talk about my private life, I was like, 'You know what, this is something that everyone should be comfortable with, being 100 percent themselves and authentic.'”

Newman added that his boyfriend is “amazing.”