search
Sections List
American Journal News

Watch and be hopeful: Survivor contestants' moving reaction to the cruel outing of a trans man

One of the many horrors of the Donald Trump era is the steady rolling back of civil rights, beginning with the administration’s rescission of Obama-era guidance regarding transgender facilities in schools and its insistence that this civil right, and perhaps other civil rights, is a “states’ rights” issue. But the minority that elected Trump does not speak for […]

By Tommy Christopher - April 13, 2017
Share
1 g survivor

One of the many horrors of the Donald Trump era is the steady rolling back of civil rights, beginning with the administration’s rescission of Obama-era guidance regarding transgender facilities in schools and its insistence that this civil right, and perhaps other civil rights, is a “states’ rights” issue. But the minority that elected Trump does not speak for most Americans, a fact for which there was a hopeful reminder this week.

On this week’s episode of the long-running reality show Survivor, the most dramatic moment in the show’s history provided strong evidence that American culture simply will not be held back by the regressive minority that now controls our government. For the uninitiated, contestants on the show vie for a million dollar prize, and must avoid being voted out at a weekly “tribal council” session.

This week, contestant Jeff Varner — who is an out gay man — found himself on the wrong end of the vote, and made an ugly and desperate attempt to save himself by outing fellow contestant  Zeke Smith as a transgender man. Varner’s appeal was not just shocking, but an ugly appeal to the bigoted trope that trans people are attempting to “deceive” people.

The response from the other contestants on the show, however, was kind of amazing:

VARNER: Deceptions on levels, Jeff, that these guys don’t even understand. There’s more.

PROBST: Continue.

VARNER: Why haven’t you told anyone you’re transgender? What I’m showing is a deception.

WANNER: But that’s personal.

VARNER: That has nothing to do with the game.

TRANG: That’s not a deception.

BOEHLKE: You didn’t have to do that.

TRANG: That is so wrong, for to you bring that up.

VARNER: I’m not using that as anything negative.

BOEHLKE: That has nothing to do with the game. That’s personal.

VARNER: I’m not knocking him.

TRANG: That’s not deception—

WANNER: That was something to reveal who whom he wanted.

The entire tribe —including self-described conservative Sarah Lacina, who emotionally recounted her own personal growth about inclusion — immediately rejected Varner’s attempt. In the ensuing 12 minutes or so, Varner saw the error of his ways, apologized, and was banished from the show without an official vote. No one needed an explanation, or even a second’s hesitation to think about it, to know that what Varner did was wrong.

Trans people have always been on the front lines of the fight for LGBTQ rights, and face a culture that still finds it socially acceptable to hatefully misgender them. This bigotry, and actions like Trump’s rollback of trans rights in schools, places trans people at risk of violence.

But there is hope in moments like this, in which a disparate group of Americans’ reflex toward inclusion was as natural as the blink of an eye. Trump’s base will continue to fight it, but the humanity of everyday Americans is a tide that will not be turned back.


AJ News
Get the latest news here first.

Tai News

Newsletter
Read More
AJ News
Latest
Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

By Jesse Valentine - February 26, 2024
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Telehealth abortions on the rise since Dobbs, new report shows

Telehealth abortions on the rise since Dobbs, new report shows

By Sofia Resnick, States Newsroom - February 28, 2024
Utah lawmakers want to repeal abortion clinic ban hoping it will speed up trigger law case

Utah lawmakers want to repeal abortion clinic ban hoping it will speed up trigger law case

By Katie McKellar, Utah News Dispatch - February 27, 2024
Republican Bernie Moreno opposes existence of minimum wage

Republican Bernie Moreno opposes existence of minimum wage

By Jesse Valentine - February 23, 2024
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott floats building a wall on the Oklahoma border

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott floats building a wall on the Oklahoma border

By Jesse Valentine - February 22, 2024
More than 48,600 18-year-olds are registered to vote in Ohio, a 35% increase from late August

More than 48,600 18-year-olds are registered to vote in Ohio, a 35% increase from late August

By Megan Henry, Ohio Capital Journal - February 22, 2024