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The Survivor 41 Premiere Featured an Important Discussion on Gender Inclusivity

The Survivor 41 Premiere Featured an Important Discussion on Gender Inclusivity


The new era of the long-running reality competition includes multiple LGBTQ+ contestants and gender-neutral language.

The 41st season of CBS' long-running reality competition series Survivor premiered last night and if it wasn't evident before, the show is entering a brand new era.

Featuring a new, expedited format, new gameplay rules that include a new advantage, interactive options for viewers, and multiple LGBTQ+ contestants, the brand-new season kicked off with a refreshingly open and honest discussion, initiated by the show's longtime host and executive producer Jeff Probst, about simple ways to make Survivor more inclusive and welcoming, starting with the language used when welcoming people to the competition.

"As we all know, we are in the midst of one of the most powerful, still-evolving periods of time that we will probably ever go through in our lives," Probst said, addressing the three tribes -- Yase, Ua, and Luvu -- at the beginning of the episode. "So while you're out there backstabbing, blindsiding, swearing on kids that you may or may not really have, if something comes up that you want to talk about it, talk about it. Who knows? We might learn something. In fact, I'll start, because I need your guidance on something."

He continued:

"For 20 years, I have used one phrase to call people in for challenges: 'Come on in, guys!' I love saying it, it's part of the show. But I, too, want to be of the moment. So my question to you to decide for us, in the context of Survivor, is a word like 'guys' okay? Or is it time to retire that word?"

"I personally think 'guys' is okay," Ph.D. student and genderqueer Yase tribe contestant Evvie Jagoda said raising her hand when Probst asks to get feedback from the cast. "'Come in, guys,' is such a signature expression and I, as a woman, as a queer woman, do not feel excluded by 'guys.'"

When nobody on the rest of the cast disagrees with Jagoda's sentiment, Probst decides it's okay to keep using the phrase. That is, until later on in the episode when another contestant shares his thoughts on the discussion.

Right before the season's first physically grueling immunity challenge, Probst asks Ua tribe contestant Ricard Foye (who viewers are introduced to earlier in the episode and learn is a gay flight attendant and father happily raising a family with his husband, who happens to be transgender) how he is feeling and what the vibe is like being on the competition so far. Foye took the opportunity to revisit the "Come on in, guys" debate -- and made some very valid points along the way.

"There was so much going on, so much commotion, cameras, my hair is messed up, I'm half-crying, I don't have the capacity to do what I'm supposed to do, which I regret," Foye starts out saying, admittedly regretting that he should have said something when the longtime phrase was being discussed earlier in the week. "I don't agree that we should use the world 'guys.' I fully agree that we should change it, whether it just be dropping the 'guys' or changing it to something else, I just don't really agree with it."

Explaining his reasoning further, Foye continued:

"The reality is Survivor has changed over the last 21 years, and those changes have allowed all of us, all of these Brown people, Black people, Asian people, so many queer people to be here simultaneously."

"It's a great point, and I got to say, I love that you thought about it more," Probst replies, agreeing with Foye and promising to change and evolve the language he uses on the show to be more inclusive going forward. "I love that you had the courage inside a million-dollar game in which standing up anytime is risky to bring it up again, because I'm with you. I want to change it. I'm glad that was the last time I'll ever say it."

And for those haters and keyboard warriors out there who are going to have the typical, predictable complaints of Survivor becoming "too woke" for evolving and changing with the time, Probst has one thing to say: @ him.

"Realizing in this moment that somebody right now is on social media saying 'oh, he caved,''s @JeffProbst on Twitter," he said pointing to the camera. "I'll probably never read it anyway."

Now hese are the kinds of inclusive, important discussions we want to see more of, especially on popular, mainstream reality TV!

New episodes of Survivor 41 air Wednesday nights on CBS and Paramount+!

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Raffy Ermac

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and the digital director of Out.

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and the digital director of Out.