Zeke Smith Wants To Be Known As A Survivor Player, Not A Trans-Survivor Player

Never in my life have I been more committed to something like how I am committed to Survivor. I have seen all 34 seasons; I have favorite players, favorite challenges, and favorite episodes. I have even dreamed of competing on Survivor one day. However, through all of this, last Wednesday really caught me off guard.

Per usual, at the end of every episode, one tribe (team) is sent to tribal council where one player on the team is voted off by their tribe. Occasionally, tribal council gets heated–even more so this season because every contestent has played the game before and has been considered a “game changer”. So, a lot of loud personalities bouncing around.

This Wednesday was different though, more shocking than ever. In order to try and advance in the game, Jeff Varner outted Zeke Smith on national TV as transgender by saying to the tribe, “Zeke is deceiving you because what Zeke is not telling you is that Zeke is transgender”. 


Zeke Smith has played two seasons and has been able to keep his sexuality private. Which is exactly what it should be: private. The fact that Zeke Smith is transgender and chose to keep it private has no indication of how Zeke plays his game. 

Though stunned, Zeke handled it very well. It did not go over well with the tribe, and the unanimously voted out Varner, Zeke handled himself with poise. He simply didn’t want to be known as the transgender survivor player. 

Jeff Varner took a lot away from Zeke Smith that day. Most likely without realizing, Varner not only outted Zeke to the tribe but also the millions of viewers.

Now, that was filmed months ago. Today, after the episode aired, Zeke has moved forward and forgives Varner.