During Wednesday night's episode, contestant Jeff Varner outed Zeke Smith as transgender during the tribal council part of the CBS show.
Jeff Varner, who was ousted after his failed attempt to show Zeke as too "deceptive" to stay in the game during tribal council, revealed that he's also spoken with "several LGBT organizations" and therapists since being voted out.
"Zeke Smith, and transgender people like him, are not deceiving anyone by being their authentic selves, and it is risky and unacceptable to out a transgender person", the group added. He shared this photo with Nick Adams, the director of GLAAD's Transgender Media program, on Instagram. There are questions people ask, people want to know about your life, they want to know about this and that.
"There is deception here, deception on levels, Jeff, that these people don't even understand", Varner told the host Jeff Probst. Writing in a lengthy heartfelt essay for The Hollywood Reporter that he is "not wild" about the reveal, and Varner's reasons for it, Smith concludes that it ultimately had "nothing to do with me and everything to do with him".
"It's a game for a million dollars and I clearly made the wrong choice tonight", he said. During Wednesday's show, there was no vote.
After the episode aired, Varner took to his Twitter to address the situation and posted a lengthy apology stating that what he did was "the worst decision of my life". "Keeping your gender history private is not the same as a gay person being 'in the closet.' The only people who need to know are medical professionals and naked fun time friends". Bustle reached out to both Smith and Varner, and will update this article if we receive a reply.
Smith told People he transitioned during college while he was studying religin at Harvard. "It robs a strong, courageous person of their power and protection and opens them up to discrimination and danger". Forgiveness is not forgetting what happened. Hope that whatever torments his soul will plague him no more.
As he leaves the show, Varner breaks down in tears as the gravity of what he's done settles in: "Nobody on this planet should do what I did tonight - ever".
"I think you see this tactic used a lot by politicians to pass these so-called bathroom bills, and I don't think it's a coincidence that he's from North Carolina, where the most unsafe of these bathroom bills was passed", Smith said.