Caitlyn Jenner continues to be a voice of support for the trans community. During an episode of Survivor: Game Changers that aired Wednesday night, contestant Jeff Varner outed castmate Zeke Smith as transgender. “Why haven’t you told anyone you’re transgender?” Varner asked Smith, who sat in silence. When none of the other contestants jumped in to say anything, Varner added, “What I’m showing is a deception.”
Though some others chimed in to say that this was “personal” information that didn’t need to be shared, what was done, was done — and Jenner noticed.
The next day, the 67-year-old former Olympian shared a message of support via Twitter. “@zekerchief Being trans in the public eye is no joke, but you did good buddy,” she wrote. “You made us proud.”
— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) April 13, 2017
Likely, Jenner was touched by an essay that Smith had penned about his feelings after being outed. “I’m not wild about you knowing that I’m trans. An odd sentiment, I realize, for someone who signed up for two seasons of the CBS reality giant, Survivor. See, when I got on a plane to Fiji last March, I expected to get voted out third. I’d return home, laugh at my misadventure, and go about my life, casually trans in the same way that Zac Efron is casually Jewish,” he began. “But that’s not what happened. I ended up being pretty good at Survivor. I was invited back immediately for an all-star season, during the course of which I was maliciously outed by a former local network news anchor. What a summer!”
Smith explained that he started out being very ambitious, by nature, but struggled with depression and transitioning later on. “I lost many from my life when I transitioned. Most were supportive in theory, but distanced themselves, unsure and a little weirded out by the process. On the whole, the world doesn’t treat trans people with much kindness. Even those who aren’t outwardly hateful crinkle their noses at you. When enough people crinkle their noses at you, you begin to think you stink.” (Jenner’s relationship with the Kardashians has reportedly been strained since she came out two years ago.) Smith added, “There is no playbook for being trans. You make it up as you go along.”
Jenner is about to embark on a nationwide tour to promote her new book, The Secrets of My Life, which will probably deal with some of these same pain points and struggles. For now, though, Jenner seems content to do chores around her beachfront property and hit the golf course.
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