Speaking of transsexuals, the big news of the week was Zeke Smith being outed as transsexual on Survivor. The person who committed the outing was Jeff Varner, who is gay. As someone who has never watched an episode of Survivor, I can’t believe I actually have something to add to this story. When Varner was on Survivor the first time, he was not openly gay, but he had quite a strong gay following. Why? You may not believe this, but 15 years ago, he was quite a looker. Back then, I wrote that although my sources told me he was gay, “don’t expect Jeff to come out or lead any Gay Pride parades.” Days later, Varner wrote me personally. He particularly liked that I called him “deliciously bitchy”. He also said, “I would absolutely lead a gay pride parade. A lot of my friends are gay and I think that would be a trip!!!” Of course, a few years later, he actually did come out – I’m not sure if he’s done a parade, yet. In those intervening years, we’ve stayed in casual contact, and I’ve always found him delightful.
But, yes, he did out Zeke – and for someone who was on the other side of an outing situation, he really should have known the pitfalls. I may not watch Survivor, but I get how the game is played. If you wanted to prove someone wasn’t being (dare I say) straight with their teammates, making this revelation would be quite a bombshell. Since the episode aired, Zeke has come out not only unscathed, but actually thriving with the support of the public and without the burden of a secret. Varner, on the other hand, has been vilified and has reportedly lost his real estate job. He’s explained his actions, apologized, and seems genuinely contrite.