Rebecca Sugar is Bisexual: “Steven Universe” Creator Comes Out at Comic-Con

feature image by Franz Xavier Manuel for Animac

Forget the first looks at Daredevil and Luke Cage. The big news out of San Diego Comic Con today is that Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar came out as bisexual!

In this video, at about 46:20, a person takes the microphone at a Steven Universe panel and enthusiastically asks Rebecca what inspired the idea to focus so much on women’s empowerment and LGBTQ themes in her show. Rebecca, being tender as ever, looks a little nervous before saying, “Well, in large part it’s based on my experience as a bisexual woman,” which receives applause and cheers from the audience and her fellow panel members.

Sugar continued to talk about why it’s important not just for her, but for other LGBTQ people, especially kids, who might be watching.

These things have so much to do with who you are, and there’s this idea that these are themes that should not be shared with kids, but everyone shares stories about love and attraction with kids. So many stories for kids are about love, and it really makes a difference to hear stories about how someone like you can be loved and if you don’t hear those stories it will change who you are. It’s very important to me that we speak to kids about consent and we speak to kids about identity and that we speak to kids about so much. I want to feel like I exist and I want everyone else who wants to feel that way to feel that way too.

The crowd erupted into a well-deserved standing ovation after this amazing answer.

I remember sitting on my couch bawling when Cartoon Network aired the Steven Universe episode “Alone, Together.” The show had been pretty queer before, with the gems Garnet, Pearl and Amethyst each giving vague hints that they weren’t completely straight, but in this episode, all hetero- and cisnormativity were thrown out the window. Steven, and his friend Connie, a girl, fuse and become one androgynous person who is flirted with by both boys and girls. In another groundbreaking episode, “Jailbreak,” we learn that Garnet is actually a fusion of two gems, Ruby and Sapphire, who are so in love that they have decided to always be together. Episodes have gotten even queerer and the subtext has turned into straight up text.

I’ve written before about how important this show is. LGBTQ kids will grow up with this show and will realize from an early age that they are good and normal and that they deserve happiness and respect and love. Kids just want to see themselves in stories, and Steven Universe does that for gay kids and bi kids and trans kids and kids of color, and queer kids of color, and femme kids and gender noncomforming kids. This show is changing and saving people’s lives, and it’s made by an openly bisexual woman. That’s amazing. That’s trailblazing. That’s historic.

Rebecca Sugar, via twitter.

Rebecca Sugar, via twitter.

Thank you to Yamino for tweeting about this and Felipe Flores for filming the panel on Periscope. But most of all, thank you to Rebecca Sugar for being who you are and for creating such a magical and wonderful show that means so much to so many of us.

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Mey Rude is a fat, trans, Latina lesbian living in LA. She's a writer, journalist, and a trans consultant and sensitivity reader. You can follow her on twitter, or go to her website if you want to hire her.

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    • !!this!! i identify with Ruby like so much. so so much. i identify with her and sapphire so much that i got this circlet that im gonna get two garnets put in. that’s how much

  1. I dunno why I assumed she was already out. Maybe it’s her style and vibe she gives? Either way her work is amazing and I wish her much happiness. *swoons*.

    • I thought that too! I thought I’d seen a lot of stuff about how cool it is that the creator of SU is a queer woman, but I must have misread it. Either way how awesome!

    • I think I remember her making references to being queer/a lot of the SU crew being queer before in interviews, but she hasn’t explicitly said she’s bi.

  2. Have you considered framing this as “We found out Rebecca Sugar is bisexual today!” rather than “Rebecca Sugar came out today” because I am not aware of any indication that Rebecca Sugar was closeted or avoiding disclosing her sexuality before today, rather, that today was the day someone asked a question to which her actual answer was, “I am a bisexual woman.”

    I’m not sure how we make straight people stop assuming that people are straight unless declared otherwise if we don’t avoid that sort of heteronormativity ourselves.

    • I get what you’re saying. But “comes out” is not inaccurate, either. We’re always coming out, long after we did it the first time. I can have come out to everyone who knows me, but I still have to do it every time I have a new job, or someone asks the question, yanno?

      • Coming out has a narrative of overcoming fear, of previously being closeted, and of making a public statement all implicit in the phrase.

        I don’t think these connotations are appropriate for every instance of living my queer life where someone can see me do it, and it bothers me that it’s the story attached as I let people get to know me better.

    • I’m 100% for say “We found out” rather than saying she “came out” for these reasons.

    • ^ THIS.

      Fun fact: I’m a CIS-gendered man (or whatever kiddos call it nowadays), and I always assumed Rebecca was a lesbian until I saw this. Her style, ideas and the feelings she projected into the show just told me so.

    • I agree. I personally don’t frame it as “coming out” when I first have the occasion to state my orientation to someone.

    • Coming out is just different things for different people. at this point even if it didn’t seem like someone is avoiding their own sexuality, just affirming it or reaffirming it would be like a coming out for them, i suppose.

    • I agree 100%. Perhaps “Rebecca reveals she’s bisexual”? She’s probably already “out”; as zvi said, it’s just that someone finally asked publicly.

  3. And she’s adorable! I had never seen a photo of her before.

    Rebecca Sugar, come to camp!!!!!!!

      • Yes please! (If that happens I will basically just walk around camp with my face looking like a literal heart-eyes emoji, all week.)

  4. How come nobody told me Rebecca Sugar was a hottie?!

    On a less shallow note she put into words everything I’ve ever wanted to say about the importance of representation. I can’t even begin to explain what it would have meant to me to have a show like Steven Universe in my life as a kid. It literally makes me tear up when I think about all the good that show is doing for little queer kids.

  5. I am So shocked, this is just so amazing. I would have never possible imagined that such an unlikely thing could be possible.I’m sure we’re all equally shocked to find out that she isn’t a lesbian.

  6. I’m so happy that she was secure enough to come out to such a huge crowd, that must have been so daunting! I’m sure not many people were surprised, but this was still a lovely thing to see today :’)

    (And she has such a great look, dang…)

  7. Hahaha, I love that the quoted tweets are from Yamino. I’m a fan of Sister Claire and follow Yamino on Twitter (although clearly not well enough to have seen this announcement). But I am glad Rebecca Sugar got such a warm reception. I really liked her work on Adventure Time and she did cool stuff with my favorite character, Marceline, who used to have a thing with Princess Bubblegum and will clearly be married to her in the far future because they are the one true pairing goddammit.

    All right, now, all the bi people chant together… We-Ex-Ist! We-Ex-Ist! We-Ex-Ist!

  8. When I was a kid, I thought Sesame Street’s Burt and Ernie were a couple, and I was always so blown away that they had a gay couple on a TV show for little kids.

    I was raised among LGBT adults, but in a conservative place, so there was a lot of fear surrounding being outed, so I never said anything to anyone about how Burt and Ernie were gay. I had absorbed the idea that even if you know, it’s better not to say anything, because the wrong people might notice and cause trouble.

    It wasn’t until I was an adult that I found out that in fact not everyone thought Burt and Ernie were gay, and that if I had said something about it, I would have been the one to be outed, apparently.

    But it meant so much to me, growing up, that Sesame Street had these guys, even though I hated them and thought they were both annoying. Just that they existed was like the world whispering to me that it heard and saw and it was going to be OK. At least, that’s how I took it at the time.

    Anyway, I’m middle aged now, but Steven Universe is one of my all time favorite shows, and what it would have meant to me as a kid? I can’t even find words for that. I am so so soooooo happy it exists.

    I didn’t even consider the possibility that the people making SU were straight. But it’s good to have it made clear, and that we live in a time and place where this can happen in the open and for real.

  9. Real mind ‘m happy that finally iso see who actually was and more for its great caricarura I hope that this does not have ploblemas desir since their animation is very good and great histora … very good for she

  10. I’m sorry for my English. I’m not very good. but I ‘m happy for her and happy for aver created a very good cartoon

  11. They weren’t revealed as a fusion in Reunion, that’s not even a real song, Reconciliation by Aivi and Surasshu is the closest song to the word Reunion and we found out in Jail Break

  12. Bless, of course she is. If this was a big deal, congratulations! If the public just hadn’t heard it confirmed before, that’s nice too. Kids programming really has changed a lot, and I’ve got so much admiration for the creators who are making that happen. Also, thanks for making my little cousins like me! Everytime we see them, I have tons to talk about cause I will watch any show that has a kickass queer heroine, even if it’s for kids.

  13. I didn’t even know she was Not Out as Not Straight but AHHHHHH I’m happy that just straight-up (pun not intended) shared that she is bi :) She is so adorable, her show is SO GOOD, life is gr8.

      • Aside from me forgetting a word in that sentence I don’t see anything wrong with what I said??? What the hell…. Is this a spambot.

        • And I meant that as a reply to Vito, not to you Creatrix Tiara! What is up with the reply feature lately! (It might just be me, though.)

  14. I don’t care straight or bi the show is a great super hero story Rebecca Sugar thank you letting us into your magnificent world you keep making it I’ll keep watching please believe me

  15. Oh what, the creator of one of the queerest shows since Queer Duck is actually bisexual? What a surprise… :P

  16. I mean, no straight person is gonna portray so many and such developed LGBT characters, which sucks. I assumed she was some sort of not straight anyway TBH ?

    But I’m glad she came out on the panel and the work she puts into her shows!

    • I think it’s unfair to assume that no straight person is going to have LGBT characters in whatever works of entertainment they create.

      It’s not common, sure, but to imply that all people of a certain sexuality (no matter what the sexuality, mind you,) are incapable of having well-represented characters of different sexual preference is disingenuous.

      I’m sure there have been plenty of LGBT writers and such that have made well-represented heterosexual characters in entertainment, and vice versa. I doubt all the people working on SU are of LGBT persuasions, so there’s evidence against your comment right there.

      How about we just enjoy the news, and not start making assumptions, yeah?

  17. This is a great read and holy shucks discovering that another lbpq woman is in a position of power and change is never ever ever going to get old. But even the nonchalant (clearly joking) manner that the author presents it in doesn’t overshadow that they tossed this important story of a black man in a lead role on his eponymous (!!, like yea it’s a common thing in most cases, but it’s rare in pop culture that a black person’s authority, power, and intellectual property have been acknowledged forthright) show aside, especially in these terrible times we’re having.

    Please don’t feel under any obligation to make a change to this article or feel negative about what’s written here. I’m simply a queer young adult trying to make my way in the world and attempting to lend a voice to my discomforts and desires (it’s a mid-year resolution, not doing too shabby I hope).

    This is a great article and I’m just as pumped as the rest of you about having another bi person out and proud, I just had to point out something that made me uncomfortable.

    In case didn’t make it clear (sorry the workings my mind don’t lend well to written word), my issue isn’t with the presence or brevity of the mention of Luke Cage, but with the notion of forgetting about the show and it’s importance. Though I know this is not the author’s true intention.

  18. Not only is this awesome because it’s important for queer kids to see queerness and queer love, its important for straight kids to see it, too. I work in a mid-sized public library, and Steven Universe and Lumberjanes graphic novels are a hit with just about ALL the tween/teens that browse that section. :)

    • I’m soooo happy to hear the show is so popular with kids!! I have always wondered what the ratings are and whether the show is likely to be cancelled or how long it will last. Your news is a good sign.

      Speaking as a 50 year old, I just want to add that it’s important for adults to see it, too!

  19. i’ve always got the feeling she was, ESPECIALLY after that Q & A from the Society of Illustrators on YT (like there’s a bit where she starts talking about the same sort of topic and def sounds like she’s speaking from experience), but seeing that she essentially said it outright makes me feel really happy and warm nonetheless

    i mean, i also think she’s totally cute but like, BESIDE THE POINT this is great

  20. I’m not sure if it’s just the part of the system I was born into, but the moment I heard she was bisexual I got irrationally excited about meeting her. I mean, if you think about it, not only is she a representation, a shining beacon of a bisexual youth’s pop culture, she gives off this shy of a hope that one day, just maybe, I might have one chance to be attractive to someone like that.

  21. Rebecca, this cartoon means so much to not only me, my niece and nephew, but everybody everywhere! Being apart of this rat race called life, we knowingly or unknowingly project what is love, what is happiness, and what does it mean to be straight, gay, bi, or transgender in today’s society. This cartoon made me feel pride in my chest knowing that it would make all people know that we exist, too. That if we were just to learn each other, then maybe we would could learn to get along with each other. Maybe if we had cartoons like this when I were a child, I would have been picked on. You are doing us all a service, Ms. Sugar :-)

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    • It’s comments like yours that hate is inspired from. In the words of my mom,’If you can’t say sonething nice, don’t say shit’!It people like you that I was bullied by, beaten up by, had things stolen by, and ultimately tried to commit suicide. Get a life, asshole.

    • Y’all we got real special one today, came outta a rabbit hole to edumacate us non-disenfranchised people on how non-disenfranchised we are.

      Bless their little heart.

  23. I think it’s pretty great what they do with this show. As crazy and out-there as this show is, it also can have very real human situations and feelings. It tackles very tough issues and every day problems. I know it’s just a cartoon, but a lot of heart and thought goes into it.

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