How did Jack and Gabriel figure out they were gay and how did each go about handling it upon finding out?
they figured it out around the same point in their lives, when they were in high school. that’s about the only similarity
Gabriel figured out he was into guys almost by accident. he’d never really been attracted to women, but he’d never really thought about that too hard. then he went to high school, and joined the GSA, at the time intending to be an ally. once he had a safe space to explicitly talk about sexuality, he put two and two together for himself pretty quickly. on top of that, he grew up in a pretty liberal environment; he told his family, and they were supportive. and anyone who would’ve grumbled about it got glared into submission by his abeulita, who dotes on all of her grandchildren and would tolerate no stupidity on the part of her family. Gabriel’s realization wasn’t all that dramatic; it made sense to him, and it felt right. it was a bit scary telling his family, but they loved him, and they were there for him. during high school and through college, Gabriel was very active in his local community, and did a lot of activist work
Jack, I talked about a little already. he had less of a fun time with things. he always knew that there was something about him that was different. or at least, he felt like he was treated differently. he grew up in a large family in a small town; nobody had time for his needs, and neither did he. Jack knew he was gay in high school, but it wasn’t some moment of revelation or anything. he didn’t play football, but there was no avoiding the sport completely where he grew up. Jack got a crush on the second string defensive lineman. he kept it to himself. part of him going to the military was family tradition, part of it was an attempt on the part of his family to make him ‘normal,’ a notion that Jack didn’t quite buy into, even though he went along with it out of a lack of better options. it was’t like he wanted to stay at home, and the military really did need everybody what with the omnic crisis. then he met Gabriel and got slammed with his own feelings again. part of actually getting together with with Gabriel and ending up a member of Gabriel’s family meant that he got to be open with himself and do things like go to Pride, which was a big deal for Jack the first time it happened, the first summer they got together. also Gabriel was over the moon about bringing his boyfriend home, not just to his family, but to the community he’d been a part of since he was a kid
this scene is one of the most amazing displays of subversive strength i’ve seen on this show.
connie is human. she doesn’t have the powers of a crystal gem, or even a lot of the freedoms that most normal children have, due to her strict parents. she doesn’t get to watch trashy tv, or stay over other people’s houses very often; when we first meet her, she doesn’t have a single person to call her friend.
and then she gets thrown into this amazing new world with all this new, fantastical stuff to explore. she meets steven and the gems, and suddenly her entire life is different. it’s wondrous and fun, most of the time! but it can also be really, really scary. she’s just a kid, after all. she has no idea what she’s getting into, and she doesn’t really have anyone she can talk to about it. her parents certainly won’t let her keep experiencing all these new exciting things if they know the risk of danger associated with it.
and what does connie do with that knowledge? she stays.
she knows that in some ways, even with all his powers and his awesome mom-friends and his dad and his saving-the-world business, steven is just as lonely as she is. he doesn’t have many people he can really level with about all his crystal gem business, and the burden that’s placed upon him by having inherited the expectations that people placed on his mother. (by friends and enemies alike, as we see with the homeworld gems.)
so even with risk to her personal safety, and endangering the few freedoms and privileges she still retains at the hands of her parents, she chooses to stay with him, be an important part of his life, be his friend.
earlier in this episode, we see connie freaking out about the fact that he’s healed her imperfect vision. she’s worried her parents won’t allow her to keep hanging out with him because he’s not perfectly normal the way her parents expect him to be. she’s legitimately afraid that her one friend in the world will be taken away from her.
but here, we can see her coming to a decision. she’s sad, of course, because it’s difficult and unpleasant to lie to people you care about and who care about you. but she’s determined to keep being there for steven, to keep herself involved with his extraordinary life, even when it will come with these disadvantages. because ultimately, she values these experiences, and she values him.
this is a tough choice to lay on a child (whom i’ve always envisioned as around ten years old). but she makes it with little hesitation, acknowledges the risk of the path she’s choosing, and takes the rose-colored lenses out of her glasses.
up until now, she’s viewed the world of the crystal gems as one of fantastical adventure, and hasn’t given much thought to the danger alongside it. but in this episode, steven tells her a story that makes the danger much more real, and truly communicates how risky this life can be.
in this scene, connie accepts that, comes to terms with it, and stays anyway. if that’s not strength, then i don’t know what is.