In what will surely go down in reality television history as one of the more shocking moments of Survivor, a castaway was outed as being transgender in last night’s episode.
During tribal council, Jeff Varner announced to everyone, the other castaways and the general public, that Zeke Smith was hiding something. Varner asked Smith: “Why haven’t you told anyone you’re transgender?”
Smith seemed completely caught off guard by Varner’s exposé, and the other castaways quickly agreed that Varner’s line of questioning was inappropriate. Varner tried to defend his outing by explaining that it was simply an example of Smith being “deceptive” to the others. However, Smith explained that he “wanted to be Zeke the Survivor player” and not simply knowns as the “trans Survivor player.”
While Varner apologized to Smith, several times, he was still voted off the island by his fellow castaways. Smith, on the other hand, stayed and tried to find a silver lining in it all: “Maybe there’s someone who’s a Survivor fan, and me being out on the show helps him, or helps her, or helps someone else. So maybe this will lead to a greater good.”
At least Varner ended the show with the right message; during the credits, he said: “Nobody on the planet should do what I did tonight. Ever. And I’m so sorry to anyone I offended, especially to Zeke and his family.”
Stay tuned for next week’s episode!