“I didn’t want to be the ‘first transgender Survivor contestant,’” Smith told People. “I’m not ashamed of being trans, but I didn’t want that to be my story. I just wanted to go out on an adventure and play a great game.”
But when fellow contestant Jeff Varner revealed his trans status in an attempt to portray Zeke Smith as someone you couldn’t trust, Zeke no longer had a choice!
“There is deception here,” Varner, who was up for elimination, said. “Deceptions on levels, Jeff, that these guys don’t even understand.” He then asked Smith, “Why haven’t you told anyone that you’re transgender?”
Other members of the tribe were furious with Varner for outing Smith, but Varner insisted that he wasn’t doing it out of hate, saying:
“I would never say or do anything to hurt anyone here… I’m arguing for my life. I feel like I’ve got to throw everything at the wall.”
Smith says the event will send an important message to people aswell:
“That reasoning is infinitely worse than him outing me, because it’s the same one used to discriminate against, attack and murder trans people. What’s great is that nobody bought it.It’s important people see he lost that fight,” says Smith. “The message should be clear that hate will always lose.”