'The Fosters' Hayden Byerly talks the fans, what's next for Jude and Connor, and more!

ABC Family's hit drama The Fosters, about a lesbian couple raising their mix of biological, foster, and adopted children, returns for a third season tonight.  Before the new episodes got underway, GLAAD spoke with actor Hayden Byerly who plays the youngest member of the Adams Foster family, Jude.

The story between Jude and his now boyfriend Connor (Gavin MacIntosh) has been evolving slowly since season one when the boys discovered their feelings for each other, and it broke new ground last season with their very first kiss. In one of their first scenes together, the boys bond when Connor paints his nails in a show of solidarity with Jude who was being bullied at school for doing the same. Jude spoke with his mom, Lena, about when she first knew she was gay and alluded to something happening between him and Connor during a school camping trip. The two had a moment where they linked pinkies while at the movies and Jude's frustration with their undefined feelings led to him confronting Connor, which prompted their kiss. At the end of the season, Connor was accidentally shot and came out to his father when he tried to keep Jude from visiting Connor in the hospital.

See what Hayden had to say about the fans, what's next for Jude and Connor, and the impact of inclusive storytelling. Don't miss The Fosters, tonight at 8pm on ABC Family!

GLAAD: How did you first get involved with The Fosters and what drew you to really wanting to play Jude?

HAYDEN BYERLY: I got involved pretty much the same way anyone gets involved, auditioning and all that. But I think the reason why I wanted to play Jude is because he's such an interesting character and I think that he is such a complex character and I wanted to really work on developing as an actor and moving towards very difficult roles to play. I think that he is such a good character to play and he has such a good story to tell and delivers such a good message. I think that the story The Fosters tells with all the characters is incredible and that it is really helpful to some people.

GLAAD: The Fosters is breaking new ground with having the audience there to watch along as Jude explores his identity. What is the impact of his story on LGBT youth and why do you think it's important for his story to be seen?

HB: I think it's important because a lot of times you don't necessarily see or hear a lot about these types of things in a positive way. I know that, for example, I didn't know anything about the foster care system until I started to do the show and I've learned so much about stuff like that. I think it's important for people to understand everything that's around them, to understand their surroundings, so they can be more understanding and accepting of those different things. Sometimes we see something that's different or see someone who's different and we are kind of weirded out by that because it's not what we're used to, so I think that for people to see a lot of these characters and see all these different people is very important because it only makes people understand it better and it makes a difference to where our society is more accepting.

GLAAD: The reaction to Jude and Connor's relationship has been so overwhelmingly positive, especially all over social media. What is it like to be at the center of such an engaged fan base?

HB: It's very cool! I think that of course there's a lot of positivity, but for such a complex and interesting role you're always going to get some bad with the good, but it has been a very cool journey. Being a part of such a groundbreaking show that has so many amazing fans and people that follow it, no actor could ask for anything more.

GLAAD: Do you have a favorite Jonnor [the relationship name for Jude and Connor] moment so far?

HB: I don't think that I have a very favorite Jonnor moment yet. There's some ones that I think are funny and there's some ones that I think are very sweet moments, but I don't think there's one that kind of outweighs them all so far.

GLAAD: The new season picks up after a small time jump. What's next for Jude and Connor?

HB: Yeah, the first episode picks up six weeks after the car crash. So, throughout the season we'll see Jude and Connor sort out how they're going to continue to develop their relationship, what they're going to do with their relationship, how it's going to continue to evolve and change. They're going to have to make some decisions based on what they want to do about their relationship.

GLAAD: Now that the Fosters can finally adopt Callie, how does that affect Jude's relationship with her after preparing himself for her possibly moving out?

HB: I think that Jude will only be even happier. I think he had to come to terms with himself and accept that Callie might not be part of their family permanently, but now that she's going to be adopted by them I think he's just so overwhelmed with excitement and happy that she is going to be a part of their family by means of the government. Of course they've always been close and the whole family sees her that way, but to be officially with them.

GLAAD: Your onscreen family all seem close in real life, how did you all deal with the news that Jake T. Austin was leaving the show?

HB: We were sad to see him go and we all wish him the best of luck in the future.

GLAAD: Is there one thing that you'd love for Jude to be able to do or one storyline that you'd really want him?

HB: I think I want Jude to be invested in something kind of nerdy and funny. Something that is very different and interesting and kind of kooky, but having something like that would be funny.

Don't miss The Fosters season three premiere at 8pm tonight on ABC Family!