'Survivor' castaway Romeo Escobar reveals family's reaction to him coming out as gay on national TV
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/02/2022
Survivorcastaway Romeo Escobar has revealed how his family reacted to finding out he's gay considering Romeo had expressed his true sexuality on national television.
Romeo, a 37-year-old pageant coach from Los Angeles, CA, came out as gay to the world onSurvivor's 42nd season, and while filming the game in Fiji, he mentioned how his family would probably disapprove and not accept him.
However, Romeo apparently got a pleasant surprise once he returned home from Survivor and resumed his normal life.
"I want to clarify. I live my life out and my immediate family knows about me. It's just my extended family, the ones that live abroad that didn't know about me. But the response was amazing," Romeo toldEntertainment Weekly in a post-finale interview.
"After the episode aired, they called me crying, 'How would you think that we would not love you? We love you regardless.' It was just amazing."
Romeo went "a step further" by detailing the response from fans as well.
"The response from the fans has been amazing because I'm getting messages from kids who are not out to their parents that were watching the episode with their parents on the couch saying, 'Oh my God, that's me. And I can't tell my parents and you're so brave and one day I hope that I can be like you,'" Romeo shared.
"And then the parents were messaging me, 'My God, I have this fear that my son or daughter might be gay and I don't know if I could accept it. But watching you, it just made me think twice and I'm going to love my child regardless. I never want them to feel like we won't accept them.'"
The most touching message Romeo received was apparently from someone living in Iran.
"I had no idea that they watched Survivor in Iran. Maybe he watched a clip on YouTube, but he messaged me saying, 'I live in a very conservative Muslim country where homosexuality is not okay. Watching you made me feel seen and made me relate. And now I feel like I could be more brave and I can walk with my head held high,'" Romeo revealed.
"And those messages really just made me feel like I won Survivor anyways."
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On theSurvivor finale that aired last week, Romeo secured his place in the Final 3 by winning the final Individual Immunity Challenge of Season 42. With that win, he was afforded the chance to choose whom to take to the end.
Romeo chose to give Maryanne Oketch a ticket right into the finale while he forced Mike Turner and Jonathan Young to compete in a firestarting challenge.
But the jury voted to crown Maryanne the winner of Survivor 42 at the Final Tribal Council session through a landslide 7-1-0 vote. Romeo received zero votes, and Mike earned himself one vote from Jonathan after defeating Jonathan in fire.
During the show's finale event, Romeo acknowledged how he was about to leave the jungles of Fiji a "free" man, knowing he can live the life that he's wanted to for a long time.
Romeo said that feeling meant more to him than winning a million dollars and so he felt like the real "winner" of the game.
"I meant what I said out there. I felt like I won the million dollars even though I didn't," Romeo told EW.
"And it's just been amazing the response that I've gotten from both my family and from complete strangers that just thank me for feeling seen. That feels amazing."