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Mississauga actor Adamo Ruggiero, who plays a gay teen on TV's Degrassi: The Next Generation, is gay himself and he's coming out in a big way next week: as the cover boy for fab: The Gay Scene Magazine, published biweekly out of Toronto.

Fab editor Paul Gallant confirmed yesterday that Ruggiero, 21, will be featured on the cover of the periodical's Jan. 23-Feb. 5 issue, along with an article inside.

Ruggiero, who joined the Degrassi cast in 2002 when he was 14, says in the article that he didn't know his character, Marco, "was a gay role until I signed on." At the same time, he was struggling with his own sexuality off-screen. "I was receiving fan mail from kids who wrote to thank me, saying 'I came out to my parents and friends because of you.' Since Marco came out before I did, I felt like a fraud. I hadn't opened up to my own parents, yet I was inspiring a generation to do just the very opposite."