Deaf model and activist Nyle DiMarco is showing some skin and making America a little greater on the cover of Paper magazine's latest digital cover.
Like RuPaul's recent Pride cover, DiMarco's new cover is part of Paper's new series of online-only features "celebrating and supporting the diversity, beauty, resiliency, and humor of the LGBTQ community."
"Growing up, I never felt the need to come out, especially being a Millennial," he says. "We just did not care who showed up at the door step. When stardom hit, I immediately saw the wave of questions to my sexuality. It made me feel closeted for the first time, so when somebody asked, I casually replied because sexuality shouldn't be a big issue."
DiMarco says he was surprised at the reaction because it was so overwhelmingly positive. "So many felt a sense of relief because they weren't the only one," he continues. "I have been getting messages from friends and fans that they feel they are finally able to relate to and accept themselves as fluid—or whatever sexuality they want to identify."
He also shares his thoughts on the future of the LGBT community in America. "I am confident; however, there are still thousands of hearts and minds that need to change and open up," he says. "I'm more worried about the children struggling to find their identity during the new administration and especially after attacks on LGBTQ communities—Pulse nightclub, for one. I feel that the current administration is banding us, tighter and stronger—silver lining. That is what makes me hopeful."
If you're interested, DiMarco finds dates with the help of Tinder—"I got booted several times because they thought I was an imposter!"—and Instagram. His dream date? "Forget the fancy dinners, let's play one-one-one basketball game. Dip into the beach. End the day with a simple dinner."
For a companion video to the Paper chat, DiMarco jumps on a trampoline wearing nothing but a pair of tighty whities. Hey, why not? And you're welcome.