Fans, and just anyone in general with a heart, are outraged that a “Survivor: Game Changers” contestant was outed as transgender by another contestant.
Jeff Varner outed Zeke Smith, who appeared on two consecutive seasons of Survivor, on Wednesday night’s program. Varner, who he himself is gay, said during the tribal council, “Why haven’t you told anyone you’re transgender?” At the time, he felt the nondisclosure was deceptive to other cast members. Fellow contestants were angered.
Smith explained that he wanted to avoid being labeled as “the trans ‘Survivor’ player” and that he wanted to be “Zeke the ‘Survivor’ player.” Varner quickly realized his error and apologized, but the tribe still voted him off of the show.
Although rare, even the show’s host, Jeff Probst, spoke out publicly against the behavior. “I cannot imagine anyone thinking what was done to Zeke was okay on any level,” said Probst.
He further expressed that the response of the tribe was reflective of how society felt.
Smith shared that he became interested in the show at a time when he was depressed and in transition. He was was hooked on the opening line of the show where Probst announces that the adventure the survivor contestants are about to experience will change their lives forever. He could relate to that adventure.
The show was filmed months ago so Varner had time to prepare for last night’s episode. He issued a full apology on Twitter.