UPDATE, March 10:
Jackson Fox’s run on Season 42 of Survivor came to a close last night.
The LGBTQ Houstonian and the series’ first transgender contestant was sent home after only 48 hours because he failed to disclose his lithium medication history that producers believed could put his health at risk due to the harsh conditions that contestants experience.
Fox had been taking a lithium medication until the day before the show started filming. He had been using the drug to help him sleep and cope with anxiety since 2016, when he was taking care of his terminally ill mother.
In a rare one-on-one, producer Jeff Probst asked Fox why he waited until the day before filming to disclose that he was taking lithium.
“I remember talking to my wife who’s a nurse, and I said, ‘Well, I’m on lithium,’” Fox explained. “She was like, ‘Well, you’re weaning yourself off of it. You’ll probably be off of it [when Survivor begins].'” Fox then decided he didn’t need to bring it up because he would be fine.
Probst told Fox, “During the Survivor casting process, we spent a lot of time getting to know the players [and] getting to know you. It’s one of the best parts of the job. From [the very start], you were a homerun. It was an absolute ‘has to be on the show.’ Throughout the casting process, we ask you to always keep us updated with anything that changes with your medical situation—doctor visits, anything. That’s because we have to make sure we can take care of you when you’re out here.”
Fox said he understood Probst’s decision, and appreciated the open conversation.
“It’s weird that I’m getting emotional about it, but even to test yourself for 48 hours was such an adventure. I take this with love,” Fox said. “I know I will be friends with these people. I appreciate them giving me this opportunity. For someone who didn’t like anything about them for 40 years, [it speaks volumes] when someone says they liked things about you that you didn’t know you were capable of. And I appreciate it. It was the best 48 hours ever.”
Keep up with Jackson Fox on Instagram @chanandler_bong_73.
Survivor is back with an all-new season on CBS, and this year’s cast features an LGBTQ local.
The reality-television show premieres with a two-hour episode tonight at 7 p.m. Joining the Season 42 competition on the Fiji islands is Houston’s Jackson Fox, a 48-year-old transgender man.
Fox, who grew up in Pasadena, now works as a healthcare worker in Space City. According to his online Survivor bio, this competition will be “mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially the hardest thing he will ever do.”
“It will break me down and challenge every aspect of my being—but I know I am a survivor in life, and this will just be another aspect that I will crush,” he said.
Fox added that his transition helped him prepare for the competition.
“A life experience that has prepared me for this is learning how to be on my own after I came out,” he said. “I’m a transgender man, and I think if you can go through the process of pretty much revitalizing your entire life and baring it all, then you can go on Survivor and bare it all as well. I want that to be a part of who I am, because it made me who I am.”
Fox thinks his fellow competitors will underestimate him at first.
“Once they get to know me, I’m going to win people over, slowly but surely,” he said. “I get along with a tree stump, so I think the Southern charm will win over. And I know it sounds bizarre, but I want to play honorably. I want people to say I treated people with respect, but at the same time I want to go through a really big blindside.”
Hosted and executive-produced by Emmy Award winner Jeff Probst, this season of Survivor features 18 determined castaways who will be divided into three tribes of six to face one of the most dangerous seasons in the history of the show, according to CBS.
The series evolves even further by introducing new elements that will intensify the battle and test even the strongest contestants. The individuals competing come from diverse backgrounds but share the same goal: to outwit, outplay, and outlast in order to be crowned Sole Survivor and take home the $1 million prize.
For more information on Survivor, visit cbs.com/shows/survivor.