Bret La Belle and Zeke Smith from Survivor Season 33 (CBS)
Bret La Belle and Zeke Smith from Survivor Season 33 (CBS)
2 min read

The gay generation divide was exposed across international television this week as two gay reality stars from different generations candidly aired their different approaches to living as gay men.

As reality shows go, Survivor is the grand-daddy of them all. And even after 33 seasons and 12 years on air, this show can still produce the raw, tear-jerking television better than any other program in the genre.

This season, the American version of the show is located on the beautiful Pacific Islands of Fiji and it began with two tribes, one full of millennials and the other X generation.


Step forward 27 days into the 39-day competition and an openly gay millennial competitor Zeke Smith (28) is sitting at a table with 42-year-old X-Gen player Bret La belle on their own drinking beer after winning a reward challenge.

In between some clever banter, Bret drops the bombshell of the season and says to Zeke “You’re not the only gay guy here.”

It’s one of those classic moments of Survivor, as the two bond over their experiences as homosexual men.

Drawing comparisons between the generational divide, Bret described that it was “normal” for him to keep this info to himself because that was the environment where he was from.

As opposed to Zeke, who lives openly with it to the extent that he doesn’t even feel it necessary to point out to people.

Zeke told Bret “you play the game the way you live your life” which is absolutely true…there is no “faking it” on Survivor.

“I owe a lot to Bret’s generation,” said Zeke, who mentioned how Bret served in the military during Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

“I would not be able to come out at 15, were there not the pioneers that paved the way.”

Zeke also called his new bond with Bret the “Rainbow Connection.”

When the longtime host of the show Jeff Probst first saw this scene he became very emotional.

“I will give you the truth: I cried,” Probst explained to Entertainment Weekly

“I was watching the cut at home and I was genuinely moved. I was moved so much that I recorded the scene on my iPhone — directly off my computer screen — and sent it to Mark Burnett and Glenn Geller (president of CBS).

“This is the poster scene for the season. I really can’t think of any other show that could provide the setting for a moment like this to happen so organically.

Longtime host of Survivor Jeff Probst (CBS)
Longtime host of Survivor Jeff Probst (CBS)

“This is also an example of what happens if you don’t push people to “tell their story.” People will talk if they want, when they want to.

“We never ever pressed Bret to tell us his story. Bret clearly felt safe with Zeke, which also says a lot about Zeke, and he opened up. It was beautiful.”

Last Updated on Nov 28, 2016

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