Contact Us

‘Survivor’ Fans Up in Arms After Contestant Outs Another as Transgender

Subscribe to i107-1 KRQN on

Outwit, outplay, outlast and, on last night’s (April 12) episode of Survivorsimply “out,” too.

History was made during the long-running CBS’ series most recent tribal council, during which out gay man and former news anchor Jeff Varner got the impression his head was on the game’s chopping block and that he was destined for elimination. Desperate to spare himself, Varner tried to paint his fellow competitors as duplicitous to deflect votes, and in a moment that horrified fans, he went as far as to out Zeke Smith as transgender and point to the behavior of withholding that information as deceptive.

Instantly, fellow members of the tribe began blasting Varner, and several cried. On the other hand — and encouragingly — each swooped in to support Smith, too.

“He crossed the line and realized he did,” Tai Trang, a gay man, said. “He just has to live with it…Whenever you want to come out, it’s your choice. Nobody should out anybody.”

“Just to see someone out somebody else is pretty painful.” Andrea Bohelke added. “That was really tough.”

And Smith, himself, explained why two seasons into his Survivor tenure, he still hadn’t been totally forthright about his identity.

“When people know that about you, that’s sort of who you are,” Smith said. “It sort of overwhelms anything else they know about you…I didn’t want to be the trans Survivor player.”

Ultimately, Varner conceded that he was wrong. And, in a first for the series, host Jeff Probst didn’t even commission a voting ceremony — he eliminated Varner on the spot after getting the unmistakable impression that the cast planned to vote for Varner, anyway.

“It’s a game for a million dollars, and I clearly have made the wrong choice tonight,” Varner said.

Thankfully, the moment ultimately evolved into a heartening conversation about visibility, change and growth. Sarah Lacina, who hailed from a small, conservative town in Iowa, said she was strangely happy about the reveal, and that it helped her to realize how far she’d come from her past, which included judgment of the LGBT community.

Still, Varner couldn’t escape some (warranted) social media backlash.

Stars Who Have Very Bravely Come Out:

Next: Survivor Contestant Dies Unexpectedly

Best of i107-1

Recommended for You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://i1071.com using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for I1071 VIP Club quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive I1071 VIP Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.