Actor Daniel Franzese says he was inspired to publicly come out gay by a fan letter.

Franzese played Damian in the 2004 film Mean Girls. While his character was out and proud, it would be ten years before Franzese talked publicly about his sexuality.

“What Damian did for a lot of queer people and people of size – which I found out later on – it gave them an identity in pop culture where they weren't made fun of,” Franzese told PEOPLE. “He's never made fun of for being big or for being gay.”

Franzese, 40, said that he was moved to come out publicly after he received a fan letter in 2014.

“Then I got this letter, and the guy was like: ‘I’m a grown man now, but I was beat up for being a sissy, I was beat up for being chubby in 8th grade, then your movie came out. And in 9th grade, on the first day, the popular senior girls came up to me and said, ‘You’re like Damian. Come sit with us.’ He was like, ‘I know you drastically changed my high school career,'” Franzese said.

“It just moved me beyond words,” he added. “It was very complex human emotions to feel. And I know that I affected a lot of people’s lives in that movie. I think that that’s such an honor and something that I don’t take lightly.”

Franzese is currently on the road with his “Yass! You're Amazing!” comedy tour.

(Related: Daniel Franzese, fiance Joseph Bradley Phillips split.)