The Surprising Reason Survivor's First Openly Trans Player Was Taken Out Of The Game

The hit reality TV series "Survivor" has been on the air for decades. Spanning 21 years and 41 seasons, "Survivor" has become a cultural phenomenon (via The U.S. Sun). One of the longest-running reality TV shows, "Survivor" just returned to the airwaves for Season 42, and made history with its casting this time around.


After the COVID-19 pandemic cut Season 41 short, a lot was riding on the show (via The Hollywood Reporter). Fans were ready to see their favorite show back on their screens, and "Survivor" was determined to deliver a great season with a diverse cast.

According to Entertainment Weekly, "Survivor" joined the likes of other reality shows, like "Big Brother," in aiming for a more inclusive cast. In 2020, they vowed to make 50% of their cast include people of color. They extended their inclusivity in Season 42 when they cast the first-ever transgender contestant. However, this contestant's run on the show ended quickly, and under sad circumstances.

Jackson Fox was asked to leave Survivor for medical reasons

The first openly transgender contestant on "Survivor" had his time on the show tragically cut short (via People). During the Season 42 premiere, contestant Jackson Fox, a 48-year-old healthcare worker from Texas, was asked to leave the show due to medical concerns.


During the casting process, it appears that Fox failed to disclose that he was on the psychiatric drug lithium to treat his anxiety and help him sleep. Sadly, for that reason, he was asked to leave the show.

Host Jeff Probst had a conversation with Fox before he left the island, telling him, "During the 'Survivor' casting process, we spend a lot of time getting to know players [and] getting to know you. It's one of the best parts of the job. From go, you were a home run. It was an absolute has-to-be on the show." Probst continued, ”There's another element throughout the casting process where we ask you to always keep us updated with anything that changes with your medical situation — doctors visits, anything. That's because we have to make sure we can take care of you when you're out here."


Fox spoke about using lithium to help him cope with caring for his terminally ill mother (via OutSmart Magazine). "I remember talking to my wife, who's a nurse, and I said, 'Well, I'm on lithium,'" Fox explained, adding, "She was like, 'Well, you're weaning yourself off of it. You'll probably be off of it [when 'Survivor' begins].'"

Ultimately, it's the usage of lithium that caused Fox to be exiled from the "Survivor" island. We can only hope that more and more LGBTQ+ contestants will make it onto reality series.