By Jeff Walsh
When I first posted that Spencer Duhm was the openly gay contestant on this season of Survivor, I didn't know that his strategy in the game was to not tell anyone. Each week, I'd watch wondering when it would come up. It never did.
Last night, after 15 days, this 19-year-old University of Florida student was voted off. If you watched the show, it seemed like his weak performance in a physical challenge was the reason, but in this interview, he says more was going on behind the scenes.
Here's what we said:
Hey Spencer. I just watched the show this morning and didn't realize we were going to be talking so soon. It's interesting, because when you were first on the show, I put a notice up on the site that there's a young, gay contestant this season, then as I'm watching the show there was no reference to it, so I figured maybe they're just not using that storyline yet. Until last night, I never realized that no one knew…
It was a conscious decision of mine going into it. I get flak for this, because people say 'Oh, everyone's really accepting…' But I'm thinking, in a social game, people will find any reason to get rid of somebody and I was good friends with all the guys on the tribe, so I don't want some subconscious thing… I mean, I was ona tribe with a bunch of people from the south, and I come from the south, too. I'm not bashing people from the south. It's a known fact that sometimes Southerners can be a little less open-minded to homosexuality, so I first see my tribe and I got people with the belt buckle and the boots and everything, and I'm like, OK, it might not work out in my favor to tell everybody that I'm gay. So if they don't ask me, I'm not going to sit there and offer it up. And they never asked. I felt there was really no upside, and there could be a downside.
So nobody in the game ever knew at all?
Sydney was the only one who suspected. Last night, in that conversation, she actually was fishing. She thought I was gay and was prying around and figuring out if I would give up any information. At night, I would sleep on one side of her, and Joe would sleep on the other side of her. But Joe would snuggle with her and I wouldn't, and she took that as not interested in females at all, so she asked the other guys one time if they thought I was gay, and they all said no, he's just really young. It's not that he's not interested, he's just really young. They didn't even think anything of it, so I thought that was pretty funny.
Well, the way the show is edited, I didn't know if everyone already knew, but the "gay storyline" hadn't been developed yet, and it was going to be brought out later…
Honestly, I was surprised they even brought it up at all. It was such a non-issue. I was surprised they had the whole interview with me. It didn't seem relevant at all. But, whatever.