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  • Writer's pictureDevon Wieters

My reaction to Zeke Smith’s outting.

No, we are not going to dwell on this, but I told someone I would post it if they wanted to read it. This was originally posted in a Survivor Fans Facebook group. Check out the good stuff section for more great advocacy stuff.

Some of you have been asking to know more about me. This is an extremely edited version. Although my Facebook friends real life friends and family know the situation, I was hesitant about posting this.This is a letter I wrote to the survivor team. This is that letter with some slight changes and additions. My name is Devon Wieters. I was born with cerebral palsy and have been in a wheelchair since birth. I have been a fan of survivor from the beginning and want to say a little bit about how it has impacted my life and how I think it could impact the disability community. There are a couple of castaways/ moments that stick out. Cirie, this woman who famously “got off the couch” and orchestrated one of the biggest moves in Survivor history. Cochran,the fellow Survivor nerd who lacked confidence in the beginning but ended up the sole survivor his second time playing. While these castaways taught me valuable lessons about belief in oneself and not giving up, there is one castaway who’s Survivor journey has touched me more than any other… Zeke’s. On the night he was outed as transgender, I had decided to watch the episode that night only because there was nothing good on (I usually record it and watch it the next day). It looked like a normal episode.. than tribal came. When Varner first uttered those words, “He’s transgender” I honestly as horrible as this sounds thought it was some kind of joke. I thought everyone was just going to say hahahaha we already knew that and move on. But after the half beat of stunned silence and then the castaways eruption at Varner, the horror of what had happened set in. Having a disability, I have had experience ( though it is, thankfully, extremely limited) with being bullied and ostracized, it has never ever occurred on that scale. It speaks to Jeff’s ability as commentator and interviewer that while I was sobbing and spewing obscenities at Varner, he gave Zeke time to collect himself and asked the questions not only the Survivor fans but the world wanted to know. The class with which Zeke handled the situation touched me beyond belief. I could so relate when he said something along the lines of “if this helps one transgender person watching, I’m good”. That’s what I want to do help people with my disability and other disabilities through multiple platforms, including the game of Survivor. Zeke reenforced the fact that I have a voice and I intend to use the voice Survivor has given me for good. Thanks for reading, Devon Wieters Twitter and Instagram: devonwieters Added:If you’d like to learn more about CP and how you can help please go to I also have to say how blessed we are to have Jeff Probst on Survivor. He is truly inclusive and compassionate when needed. I don’t say that lightly.

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