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SPOILERS FROM SURVIVOR SEASON 42:
Survivor Season 42 is full of impactful social moments. Moments touching on relevant modern issues from subconscious racial bias to family dramas and more. One particularly powerful moment was between two of the season’s gay competitors. Friends gone rivals, Hai and Romeo. Before their falling out, they had a bond made between their similar experiences as LGBT first-generation immigrant kids in America.
But not everyone in Romeo’s family knew about him being a gay man before the airing of Season 42. In his EW exit interview after the finale, Romeo Escobar talks about his relatives’ reactions to learning he was gay through the show. He also talks about many other points of his game. Like his last-second fake idol and whether or not he views himself as a GOAT like many others do.
“I want to clarify. I live my life out and my immediate family knows about me. It’s just my extended family, the ones that live abroad that didn’t know about me,” Romeo said in his interview.
So, really, Romeo wasn’t “in the closet” prior to the filming of the show. Rather, he selectively withheld the information from certain people in his life with whom he was skeptical about divulging that part of himself. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The idea of needing to “come out” as gay has become less and less relevant within the US throughout recent years. For many, it upholds being straight as the “default” when not being straight necessitates a big reveal to everyone in your life.
But, as mentioned earlier, Romeo is the son of immigrants. He’s Salvadoran-American, and El Salvador (like much of Central America) tends to lean fairly conservative when it comes to issues like homosexuality. It is Romeo’s extended family living in El Salvador that was not aware of his sexuality prior to the airing of the show. According to Romeo, however, he got a great response from his family.
“The response was amazing. After the episode aired, they called me crying, ‘How would you think that we would not love you? We love you regardless.’ It was just amazing.”
The End Of Survivor 42
Survivor 42 is officially over. Romeo wound up finishing 3rd place as the finalist with the least number of votes after the final tribal council. While many counted him out going into the finale episode, Romeo proved himself as a capable player. He won the final immunity challenge and did a great job pleading his case at FTC. It wasn’t enough to garner the positive attention towards himself that Maryanne and Mike had, but he still did a great job.
All episodes of Survivor Season 42 are out now. Season 43 is coming this fall.