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Quote1.png It's hard to grow up different where different means people call you a freak. Sometimes I feel like a fish out of water. Quote2.png
Kenny Liu src

Kenny Liu is the openly gay captain of Chinese descent of Truth or Consequences High School swim team and rebel against conformity — and also Jake Hyde's love interest.

Jake has known Kenny since middle school, recognizing him as someone outspoken in a way that he also wanted to be, but seeing how kids picked on him kept Jake from becoming his friend. Kenny also helps his wheelchair-bound father at their tourist lodge called Desert Springs Lodge, near Hot Springs Park.

Kenny always spoke up in Ms. Archer's History class, Jake's favorite teacher, highlighting important queer people from the past when mentioned in class, which attracted harassment from bully Zeke and his crew — and also the curiosity of Jake, who was still in the closet.

When they finally approached each other, Jake invited Kenny to go hiking in the desert. There they opened up to each other: Jake learned how Kenny found out he liked boys and not girls, about his father's difficulty in accepting that he is gay, about the car crash hit by a drunk driver that killed his mother and left his father in a wheelchair, while Jake, who still didn't understand his own sexuality, told him about his mother, about his best friend Maria, and about the father who, he believed, had drowned when he was a baby and so his mother prevented him from learning to swim. Kenny was the first person to whom Jake revealed the secret of his powers, but, contrary to what Jake would have expected, Kenny didn't pull away scared, and the attraction between the two was becoming more obvious. At one point they were taken by surprise by a flash flood in the desert that would have killed them if Jake hadn't used his hydrokinetic powers to protect Kenny, which left the swimmer even more fascinated by his schoolmate.

Back in high school, when Jake found Kenny alone at the pool, he had the experience of his first kiss, which was unfortunately witnessed by Maria, who was secretly in love with Jake. Jake and Kenny argued, and this caused the two to fall out, and so Jake feared that he had lost Maria's friendship and his early relationship with Kenny.

School life was getting even harder thanks to the bullying of Zeke and his crew, who especially bullied Kenny and later Maria, which naturally led them to bully Jake as well, reaching the point where he couldn't but keep his special abilities a secret if he wanted to protect his friends. This, however, made Jake's mother despair, fearing that the revelation of her son's powers would attract Black Manta's attention, and thus discover where they lived. When Mrs. Hyde wanted to run away from town with her son, Jake was torn between leaving Kenny and Maria behind and complying with his mother's wishes, but Jake's feelings, strengthened by his relationships with Maria and Kenny and by the support of Maria's parents and, unexpectedly, Kenny's father as well, made him face his mother and her fears, convincing her to stay in Truth or Consequences independently if Jake's father would come after them or do not.


Abilities

  • Athletics: Kenny says "I'm more of a water guy", interested in swimming, kayaking, white-water rafting.
    • Swimming: Kenny describes himself as a strong swimmer, having learned from his mother when he was a toddler.
  • Historiography: Kenny has a special interest in Queer History, seeking positive queer references from the past such as Alan Turing and possibly Eleanor Roosevelt.
  • Leadership: Kenny is the star swimmer in high school and captain of its swim team.
  • Swimming Teaching: As captain of the high school swim team, Kenny is often given the responsibility of teaching other students from his coach.

Equipment

  • Kenny's Turquoise: Kenny had this turquoise stone since he was a kid, and he gave it to Jake because its color reminds him of the sea, and now it reminds him of Jake.


  • Kenny Liu is partly based on Prime Earth's Kenny, Jackson Hyde's small-town New Mexico boyfriend who was the first to whom Jackson revealed his powers, but unlike Kenny Liu, that Kenny freaked out and dumped Jackson.[1]

Related

Footnotes


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