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"Survivor" contestant outs fellow competitor as trans

20 April 2017

Survivor contestant Zeke Smith was outed as transgender on Wednesday night's episode, sparking a backlash against both the contestant who outed him and CBS, The New York Times reports.

Despite openly gay contestants Jeff Varner and Zeke Smith creating a bond over the course of the current season, a confrontation occurred at the Tribal Council this week because Varner looked likely to be voted out.

Probst said that he was impressed by Smith's calm response to Varner, even hugging him as he left the show.

The rest of Nuku was appalled at Varner's comment, saying it was uncalled for and entirely inappropriate.

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Varner said Thursday he was in the throes of playing the game when he made the revelation, but that he knows that doesn't excuse what he did.

CBS enlisted GLAAD when it came to handling Zeke Smith's story after he was shockingly outed as transgender by "Survivor" co-star Jeff Varner.

Varner was instantly criticized by other players. Insisting he was a trans ally, Varner said, "I would never say or do anything to hurt anyone here..."

In a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, Smith wrote that he's not "wild" about people knowing that he is trans but is proud of the way he handled it.

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There's the accusatory language, the undercutting of Smith's agency, but also the basic rhetoric linking not disclosing your gender history - and even the act of being transgender - with "deceit". In an apparent Survivor first, no vote was taken; Probst simply asked whether everyone believed Varner should leave, and he did.

"Why haven't you told anyone that you're transgender?" "That reasoning is infinitely worse than him outing me because it's the same one used to discriminate against, attack and murder trans people", he told the magazine.

The move was slammed by a major LGBT rights group, as well as the other contestants and the host of the show, Jeff Probst.

'It's important people see he lost that fight, ' said Smith. But he noted that's nothing compared to what he did to Smith, who deserves all the support and sympathy he is receiving. "Maybe there's somebody 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", he said.

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