The 12-year-old son of Darlene Conner has come out as gay to his parents in the latest episode of The Conners.
Darlene finds out that her son Mark is gay when he is photographed kissing another boy at school in the Roseanne spin-off. The school has a “no PDA” policy, meaning she must go in and see the school principal.
In her discussion about the incident with Mark, Darlene asks if Austin – the boy he was pictured kissing – is his boyfriend.
Mark explains that he and Austin shared an excited kiss when they found out that the school was going to be offering personal pizzas in the cafeteria.
“That was the first time,” Mark tells his mother in the emotional scene. “He only told me he was gay last week.”
Mark quickly discovers that not everybody is accepting of LGBT+ people in The Conners.
Sadly for Mark, he quickly discovers that not everybody is accepting of gay people. When they go into the school to meet with the principal, Austin’s grandmother denies that her grandson is gay.
Darlene has an argument with Austin’s grandmother, telling her: “Maybe you just don’t want to accept the fact that your grandkid might be gay, but you scaring him into denying… it’s just gonna ruin his life.”
Later that evening, Mark begins to remove his nail polish and angrily tells his parents: “You told me I shouldn’t hide who I am, and look what happened.”
Austin’s a jerk for turning on you and his grandma is a jerk for not caring how much she’s hurting the two of you.
“Yeah but you shouldn’t hide who you are,” Darlene replies. “Austin has to do that. You don’t want to live like that, right?”
“My life would be so much easier if I wasn’t gay,” Mark says.
Darlene Conner: ‘You should be mad and you should stay mad.’
That statement sends Darlene into a defensive rage.
“Hey, stop it,” she tells her son. “This is not your problem, this is their problem. Forget what I said about not being mad. Austin’s a jerk for turning on you and his grandma is a jerk for not caring how much she’s hurting the two of you. You should be mad and you should stay mad because you’re amazing and everybody else sucks.”
After being comforted by his parents, Mark admits that he is happy he is gay.
Mark was first introduced when ABC rebooted Roseanne – however, the show was quickly axed when Roseanne Barr was fired over racist tweets.
ABC then recreated the show as The Conners so the rest of the cast and crew could continue making the show without its long-time lead.