The Bad: Survivor contestant Zeke Smith outed as transgender
There had been some speculation on various web forums that Survivor: Game Changers contestant Zeke Smith was transgender before he was outed, but that information was his to share – if he even wanted to share it.
Fellow contestant Jeff Varner, himself a member of the LGBTQ community, took that choice away during the "tribal council" portion of a much-discussed episode of the long-running CBS reality show's 34th season. After publicly asking Smith, "Why haven't you told anyone that you're transgender?" Varner repeatedly referenced the younger man's "deception," implying that he couldn't be trusted because he hadn't revealed that information to his tribemates. And because the event was taped and televised, Varner not only outed Smith to the cast of Survivor, CBS effectively outed him to the world. Varner apologized, but the incident had already amplified what Smith later called "one of the most odious stereotypes of transgender people": the idea that being transgender is, in and of itself, about tricking other people.