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Survivor: Gender Changers?

Survivor: Game Changers

Survivor: Game Changers

Copyright @ CBS.com (Fair Use)

Outwit, outlast, outplay, or get outed?

In case you don't know what Survivor is, it's a long-standing reality TV show that (usually) pits strangers against one another in the wilderness to compete for one million dollars. Whether you like the show or not is irrelevant, but apparently in a Season 34 "Game Changers", a guy (named Zeke) was outed as transgender by one of his tribe-members (named Jeff):

After this aired, social media exploded by condemning Jeff for outing Zeke and arguing that no one has the right to out someone else, least of all on national television. What made it worse is Jeff's comment that Zeke not telling his tribe-mates about his gender was "deceit at levels you couldn't begin to understand" (a few moments prior to this reveal). And the hat-trick was that Jeff is a gay man himself who supposedly fights for LGBT rights.

Now, I'll admit I don't really understand the plight of transgenders. I don't know exactly what it means to "feel male" or "feel female". Sure, my receding hairline and enlarging prostate remind me I'm a guy, but outside of that how do I know if what I'm feeling daily is considered masculine? I've never wondered if my thoughts or feelings were considered something a man should have or a woman should have. And my body isn't perfect but that doesn't mean it isn't "right" for me. To me it's pretty simple, I can use the urinals so I must be a guy.

But apparently for transgenders, they feel they are a man in a woman's body, or a woman in a man's body. You often hear them describing the experience as feeling 'trapped'. It's not a matter of simply being attracted to the same sex, because then they would just be homosexual. So apparently it must run deeper than that. But the question is, how? There are of course lots of stereotypes surrounding the genders. For example, men are typically considered more aggressive, women are more passive. Men are thought of as providers, women as nurturers. Men like blue/black, women like pink/purple. Some of these are based on genetics, some evolution, and others as a result of social conditioning. But there are plenty of instances where people defy social norms without considering themselves the 'wrong' gender.

To further complicate things, transgenders claim it isn't just a matter of liking things that the opposite sex does (i.e. dressing in their clothes). Instead, they say that their bodies just "don't feel right". Again, I'm not quite sure what this means. Does it mean that I would feel I should have a vagina instead of a penis? Or breasts instead of a chest? Or instead does it mean that the internal workings (i.e. hormones, chemistry) do not feel right? And how do they know that their feelings are what the opposite sex is supposed to experience?

It's Not a Game

I do not say this to try to trivialize their conflict, only in an attempt to understand it. I truly want to know how anyone could feel that they should be the opposite sex without having experienced both. But regardless of my understanding (or misunderstanding) of it, there exists an unspoken rule that you should not be outing or exposing people who are gay or transgender. While we may be slightly more accepting about these things than before, the truth is there's still a lot of bigotry surrounding transgenders and gays. Since this "reveal" can have a dramatic (and even traumatic) impact on a person's life with their family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances, I agree that it should be entirely their choice when (or if) to announce it.

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Big Ed is the Chief Editor for Bigatorial.
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