Zeke Smith, you truly are an inspiration!
As we reported last week, the Survivor: Game Changers star came out as transgender right before last Wednesday’s episode where he was outed by now-eliminated contestant Jeff Varner.
On this week’s episode of the hit CBS franchise, the show begins with Smith and co. at tribal council where they discuss the shocking incident they just witnessed.
While a couple of the tribemates (rightfully) vocalized their anger toward Varner, the trans Harvard graduate was glad they didn’t create a bigger scene. The Oklahoma-native said:
“I didn’t want people to cry and yell… I was very touched by how everyone responded.”
Even with all the hoopla, Smith doesn’t want to be labeled by his gender.
“One of the reasons I didn’t tell people is I sort of wanted people to see me as myself. Often in my life when I tell people I’m trans, it’s sort of what they’re interested in. And everything else about me sort of gets pushed to the wayside.”
Although being outed on national TV could be an extremely traumatizing event, the fan favorite credits the show for turning him into a stronger person. The 29-year-old said in a confessional:
“Survivor, it makes you tough, it makes you resilient, and it makes you adaptable… I think I had all those qualities before, but they’ve certainly been strengthened and grown. And I think I was able to be a little more brave, and a little bolder, to help others, and also to get over my own fears and to get over my own issues and complexes and insecurities of being transgender.”
Drama aside, Zeke is focused on one thing, and one thing only: the $1 million dollar prize!
“It is heartening in this game… that people who are out to get you in some regard do come to your defense… But in the meantime, there’s still a task at hand. A task that I’m rather committed to. I’m here to win a million dollars. I’m here to play Survivor. So let’s just get back to it.”
We’re rooting for you, dude!
[Image via CBS.]