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Zeke Smith reveals he's transgender after 'Survivor: Game Changers' castaway outs him

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/12/2017 

Zeke Smith has announced he is transgender.

Zeke revealed he's transgender in an interview published in People's newest issue after it was unexpectedly disclosed during events that will air on Survivor: Game Changers' broadcast on Wednesday night, the Daily Mail reported. 

"I'm not ashamed of being trans, but I didn't want that to be my story," Zeke, a 29-year-old openly gay asset manager who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY, reportedly told People.

"I just wanted to go out on an adventure and play a great game."

Zeke's adventure began last year when he competed on Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X. Zeke seemed happy and open on his first season, as Boston police officer Bret LaBelle even felt comfortable enough to disclose the fact he is also gay during a conversation the pair had on the island.

His Survivor adventure then continued when he returned to the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji only weeks after Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X concluded production to begin filming Survivor: Game Changers in June 2016.

Zeke told People he told Survivor producers he's transgender when he auditioned for Survivor, but he chose not to discuss it during filming. Now, Zeke is explaining why he opted not to publicly share it earlier.

"When you tell people you're trans, you get two reactions: Either they look at you funny and pull back, or they go, 'Aww, that must be so hard,'" Zeke reportedly said.

"I'm a goofy, fun-loving guy, so neither of those reactions work well for me."

Zeke told People a castaway whose identity has yet to be revealed attempted to paint him as "deceitful" for not being forthcoming about being transgender during Survivor's April 12 episode, leaving the Oklahoma native "shell-shocked," Hollywood Life reported.

"I think he hoped others would believe that trans people are fraudulent," Zeke reportedly told People.

"What's great is that nobody bought it. It's important people see he lost that fight. The message should be clear that hate will always lose."

In a previous Game Changers episode, Zeke -- who came out as gay at 15 -- was shown befriending his fellow gay castaways Jeff Varner and Tai Trang.

Zeke told People he transitioned from a woman to a man while he studied religion at Harvard University, according to Hollywood Life, but the transition left his confidence "obliterated."

"I realized I need to take on a big challenge to become the man I wanted to be. For some reason, that was Survivor," he reportedly said.

Zeke then joined the cast of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, the franchise's 33rd season, where he learned how to make fire and be comfortable in his own skin.

Zeke made it to Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X's Final 9 before being blindsided by his high-school ally Will Wahl, who confessed he was making a power move and getting rid of a big social and strategic threat just to build his resume.

While Zeke's interview didn't reveal whether he's attracted to men or women, his social media pictures have sparked speculation he is in a relationship with former Survivor castaway Hannah Shapiro, who also played on Millennials vs. Gen X but actually made it to the Final Tribal Council.

The photos suggest they're more than friends -- like one image in which Hannah is kissing Zeke on the cheek -- but neither individual has confirmed or denied romantic interest.

Zeke and Hannah have even discussed an "engagement" and "wedding," creating their own cute hashtag: #Heke.

Official Survivor CBS/Instagram

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