In its very first season, Survivor invented the concept of reality show villain, and for 34 seasons there鈥檚 been no telling how far contestants would go to win. But last night, Jeff Varner crossed the line. In an effort to stir the pot, he outed his competitor, Zeke Smith, as transgender.

Nobody has the right to publicly reveal another person鈥檚 gender or sexual identity without consent, and certainly not for the sake of a TV competition.

Now that the episode has aired, Smith has eloquently responded to Varner鈥檚 actions, and fans are cheering him on.

鈥淚鈥檓 not ashamed of being trans, but I didn鈥檛 want that to be my story,鈥 he told聽People. 鈥淚 just wanted to go out on an adventure and play a great game. I just wanted to be known for my game.鈥

While filming the episode, Smith wasn鈥檛 afraid to speak his mind either. 鈥淥ne of the reasons I didn鈥檛 want to lead with that is because I didn鈥檛 want to be like, the trans Survivor player, I wanted to be Zeke the Survivor player,鈥 he said on the show. He went on to question Varner鈥檚 motives, and in doing so, reminded us of the wider prejudices trans individuals face every day.

鈥淚 think he hoped others would believe that trans people are dangerous and fraudulent,鈥 he said. 鈥淭hat reasoning is infinitely worse than him outing me because it鈥檚 the same one used to discriminate against, attack and murder trans people. What鈥檚 great is that nobody bought it.鈥

While Smith chose to forgive Varner, he added a caveat. 鈥淔orgiveness is not forgetting what happened. It鈥檚 not excusing what happened. I don鈥檛 even think forgiveness means I have to be his friend 鈥 and I don鈥檛 think I ever will be his friend.鈥

While Smith shouldn鈥檛 have been put in this position in the first place, it鈥檚 heartwarming to see that the other contestants had his back. But the way Smith handled the incident is even more inspiring: He used it to raise awareness and call for acceptance. Now there鈥檚 a reality star we can totally get behind.

(h/t Hello Giggles; Photo via Instagram)