entertainment

Transgender man outed on reality show

2017-04-13
Zeke Smith, a 28-year-old transgender man from Brooklyn, has been outed on the reality TV show Survivor by one of his competitors. During a meeting of the 'tribal council', where participants meet to discuss issues and vote one another off the island, Jeff Varner saw fit to call out Zeke for what he saw as Zeke's "deception". Verner, 50, from North Carolina said: "There is deception here. Deceptions on levels," Jeff said, before asking Zeke "why haven't you told anyone that you're transgender?" Zeke did not respond initially, but his fellow campmates were incensed by the outing, defending Zeke with cries of "That's personal, you didn't have to do that" and "That is so wrong for you to bring that up." Jeff tried to defend himself by saying that he "argue(s) for the rights of transgender people every day in the state of North Carolina" and insisted that he was not outing Zeke - less than a minute after outing Zeke. After he was reprimanded by the show's host, Jeff appeared to be remorseful. "It never dawned on me that no-one knew," he said. Jeff was eliminated from the show immediately afterwards. The decision to kick him off was unanimous, with no need to vote. "I've been fortunate to play Survivor as long as I've been playing it and not have that label," Zeke responded, after Jeff's elimination. "And one of the reasons why I didn't want to lead with that is I didn't want to be like the trans Survivor player, I wanted to be Zeke the Survivor player." Zeke elaborated on his transition in a column for The Hollywood Reporter. "I lost many from my life when I transitioned," Zeke wrote. "Most were supportive in theory, but distanced themselves, unsure and a little weirded out by the process. On the whole, the world doesn’t treat trans people with much kindness. "Even those who aren’t outwardly hateful crinkle their noses at you. When enough people crinkle their noses at you, you begin to think you stink." While Zeke initially appeared to forgive Jeff, even giving him a hug as he left camp, Zeke admits he has had mixed feelings since then. "I’ve struggled with that forgiveness in the months following. I can’t foresee us sipping martinis together in Fire Island," he wrote. "While I can reconcile the personal slight of him outing me, I continue to be troubled by his willingness to deploy such a dangerous stereotype on a global platform." Watch the whole confrontation below: More stories: The Sun just outed a nurse as a former gay porn star for absolutely no reason ‘Mean Girls’ actor Jonathan Bennett ‘outed’ as gay?