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'Survivor' Contestant Apologizes for Outing Zeke Smith as Transgender
14 April 2017, 02:44 | Sue Hudson
Caitlyn Jenner sent a message of support to Survivor's transgender contestant Zeke Smith after he was outed by a fellow contestant in a shocking episode of Survivor: Game Changers on Wednesday, April 12.
The fellow tribe members were visibly distressed and expressed their shock that Varner would reveal such a personal matter about someone else. During the episode's tribal council, openly gay Varner was making the case to stay on the island. Speaking to People, Smith said, "In calling me deceptive, Varner invoked one of the most odious stereotypes of transgender people, a stereotype that is often used as an excuse for violence and even murder".
Following the sixth episode's tribal council, the Hollywood Reporterpublished a guest column from Smith. Varner was promptly kicked off by host the Almighty Jeff Probst for his transphobic actions, but the damage had already been done. "Took it to another level by connecting trans to deception". "It was hard to see me hug him that night and tell him that it was going to be okay", says Smith.
'I'm not wild about you knowing that I'm trans, ' wrote the 29-year-old in the self-penned essay. Smith wrote. "I remember distinctly Jeff Probst's opening line, 'You are watching 20 Americans begin an adventure that will forever change their lives.' I was hooked". He admitted he wanted to run when Varner targeted him, but instead took the time to compose the flawless response to the man who just changed his life. I can not imagine anyone thinking what was done to Zeke was okay on any level, under any circumstances, and certainly not simply because there was a million dollars on the line'. "I feel like I've gotta throw everything at the wall". And I am so sorry to anyone I offended, especially Zeke and his family and friends. This is his second consecutive season on 'Survivor.' From his first season through the current edition, we have always been guided by the principle that this is his story to tell, and it remains so.
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GLAAD, a LGBT media advocacy group, issued a statementon Twitter: "Tonight's episode of #SurvivorGameChangers was a gut-wrenching look at the consequences of outing a transgender person against his will".
"I got to a point where I stopped telling people, because when people know that about you, that's sort of who you are", Smith said. "I am deeply saddened at what my mistake unleashed and I promise to use its lessons to do the right thing".
On Zeke's calm reaction to the outing, Probst commented, "I was also very impressed with the compassion Zeke showed Varner".
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