Former Disney Stars Garrett Clayton & Josie Totah Come Out

National Coming Out Day isn’t until October 11, but two former Disney stars publicly declared their respective truths yesterday.

First there was Garrett Clayton. The 27-year-old actor is best known for Disney’s Teen Beach Movie, NBC’s Hairspray Live and the Brent Corrigan biopic King Cobra. He chose to publicly come out as gay now because of his new film Reach. The politically-charged film, which is slated for release on October 19, tackles teen suicide.

In addition to coming out, Garrett also revealed he’s been dating a man named Blake Knight “for a long time.” Read his powerful Instagram post below.

With the release of my new movie REACH coming up, I thought it was important to explain why I took on this project in the first place. REACH deals with some very serious and timely topics that have affected me personally, and have likely influenced many of your lives as well. (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. 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. ??

A post shared by Garrett Clayton (@garrettclayton1) on

Meanwhile, Josie Totah, formerly known as J.J. Totah, chose TIME as her platform of choice to come out as a transgender female. The 17-year-old actress has appeared in the Disney series Jessie and most recently in the Mindy Kaling NBC sitcom Champions.

“When I was really young, growing up in a small town in Northern California, people would just assume I was gay. On the playground, I was the type of kid who wanted to sing with the girls, not play soccer with the boys. Then I found myself playing that role once I got into the entertainment industry, and people kept assuming my identity. Numerous reporters have asked me in interviews how it feels to be a young gay man. I was even introduced that way before receiving an award from an LGBTQ+ rights organization. I understand that they didn’t really know better. I almost felt like I owed it to everybody to be that gay boy. But that has never been the way I think of myself,” she wrote on TIME.

Click here to read the full essay.