In an interview with LGBT glossy The Advocate, actor Joey Pollari discussed coming out.

Pollari plays Lyle in the film Love, Simon. The movie from out director Greg Berlanti follows 17-year-old Simon (played by Nick Robinson) as he begins a correspondence with another closeted teen.

Speaking to The Advocate, Pollari said that he had a similar coming out experience as Simon and came out to his family and friends five years ago at the age of 18.

“I think all my friends and family knew on some level,” he said. “I think maybe two people were shocked.”

Coming out to himself, he said, was the hardest part.

“The only part that was difficult was me coming out to myself. And I think that is the most difficult coming-out,” Pollari says. “A lot of the trouble was self-shame. I do believe a system of power, of patriarchy, of masculinity, did impact me. The greatest difficulty I found was that it didn’t match my idea of myself. It seemed incongruent with the future I imagined for myself, the identity I had struck up with others. The interplay between me and women, me and men, now suddenly seemed entirely different. That just didn’t seem fair or right.”

Pollari added that speaking out publicly helps others who are struggling with their sexuality.

“It’s part of my goal to be more transparent, especially in the public sphere. I think that’s a good thing. Anybody who’s out? It was helpful to me when I was in the closet. I think just adding another voice there is a good thing to do,” he said.

(Related: Love, Simon director Greg Berlanti talks about how he met husband Robbie Rogers.)