Zeke Smith Relives Being Outed As Transgender On ‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Finale

?It became a worldwide cultural moment,? host Jeff Probst told the audience at the live ?Survivor: Game Changers? finale, referring to the disappointing and shocking moment when Jeff Varner randomly outed fellow contestant Zeke Smith as transgender on the April 12 episode. 

The emotional tribal council was heartbreaking for Smith, who had not publicly come out as trans at that point, but it ultimately led to an important discussion about supporting people who are trying to be their authentic selves. 

?I was really scared because I didn?t know what was going to happen to my world. I didn?t know what the reaction was going to be,? Smith said during Season 34?s reunion show on Wednesday night. ?What this experience has shown me is I have so much love in my life … I?ve never felt as loved as I do right now.?

The 29-year-old from Brooklyn, New York, was blindsided by the outing, but has since come to realize that the moment has only made him stronger. 

?When I transitioned, I was hit with a pretty big bout of depression, like a lot of people are, and I almost failed out of Harvard, I was living at home, I was alone, I was pretty helpless. And I started watching ?Survivor,? and I binged 20 seasons, and it took me away,? Smith said. ?I got to go on an adventures with Ozzy [Lusth] and Cirie [Fields[ and with Sandra [Diaz-Twine] and it got me through. And, slowly, I got to put my life back together, but there was something ? there was a courage and a boldness … something inside of me knew I had to go play ?Survivor.? And I found that courage and that boldness in Fiji. I found it on the beaches. And in so many ways, ?Survivor? has given me my life back.?

As for Varner?s thoughts on the backlash, he, of course, knows he was in the wrong. ?This has been very difficult. I got hit hard,? he said. ?It was really ugly for a period of time.?

But then, as Varner explained, it changed after he admitted to his mistake and turned it into something positive.

?There?s a book in the works that I?m working on, it?s entitled Surviving Shame,? he added, to the surprise of some of his castmates. ?And you get the first copy,? Varner told Probst. 

?I love that you?re turning this into something positive,? Probst concluded. 

Let?s hope more meaningful conversations continue. 

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November 17, 2017

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Mom Recreates Her Viral Dancing Maternity Video With Her Baby Girl

Spanish actress, dancer and model Gemma Marin has racked up more than 1 million views on her viral dancing maternity videos. The videos became so popular that it seemed fitting for Marin to celebrate the arrival of her daughter with one epic first dance.

In February, Marin posted a video that showed her dancing at 33 weeks pregnant alongside her partner, boxer Israel Duffus.

?Three people one soul,? she wrote in the caption.

As of Wednesday, the video had been viewed more than 1.2 million times. Its popularity encouraged Marin to share more dancing videos. The couple even tried dancing when Marin was 40 weeks pregnant in April to help induce labor.

?We?ve tried everything!? she wrote in the Instagram caption. ?Spicy, famous salads, teas, walk, sex, chocolate… even yesterday we did another dance! Alexandra is just too comfortable inside.?

A few days later, she gave birth to her daughter, Alexandra. The dancer and her partner celebrated with ? you guessed it ? a first dance with their daughter.

On Tuesday, Marin posted a video on Instagram and Youtube that showed clips of Marin and (a baby-wearing) Duffus dancing as well as clips from their first viral dancing video.

?We are so grateful for having all of you following the last part of my pregnancy, and our life with Alexandra,? Marin wrote in the caption. ?Her FIRST DANCE is dedicated to all of YOU.?

According to her Instagram, the proud mom plans on sharing her love for dance with her daughter. In a caption to one of her dancing maternity videos, she wrote, ?Dancing is in our veins.?

The HuffPost Parents newsletter, So You Want To Raise A Feminist, offers the latest stories and news in progressive parenting.   

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November 11, 2017

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The ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 7 Trailer Is Finally Here

Attention, citizens of Westeros, the wait is over: Hype is coming.

With the need to push production to colder months because winter has come on ?Game of Thrones,? the wait for the Season 7 trailer has been torture. It?s literally been like watching ice melt, which is what HBO made us do to find out the premiere date.

There have been some Season 7 teasers and photos along the way, but now, by the mercy of the seven gods, the trailer is finally here. 

In it, we see Dany (Emilia Clarke) finally reaching Westeros, the Lannisters possibly getting nervous, Arya (Maisie Williams) freezing her butt off, Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) apparently having some problems and dragons ? big dragons.

One of the most interesting parts is Jon Snow?s confrontation with Littlefinger, which looks like it happens in the Winterfell crypts. That?s where many are speculating that Jon will learn of his Targaryen heritage.

Just be ready. With only two seasons left, it?s not looking good for most of the characters. As the show says, ?All men must die.?

?Game of Thrones? Season 7 premieres on July 16.

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November 9, 2017

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Yankee Stadium Plays ‘God Save The Queen’ To Honor Manchester Attack Victims

The New York Yankees honored the victims of the recent deadly terrorist attack in Manchester by playing the U.K.?s national anthem at the start of Tuesday?s game.

Players, officials and fans stood as ?God Save The Queen? echoed throughout Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, paying tribute to the 22 people killed and at least 59 others injured in the worst terrorist attack in the U.K. in over a decade.

The venue?s jumbo video screens displayed ?Our thoughts and prayers to the victims in Manchester? alongside images of the U.K. flag and memorial candles during the tribute. ?The Star-Spangled Banner? followed the U.K.?s anthem before the first pitch was thrown out for the game versus the Kansas City Royals.

?I think you always think about it,? Yankees manager Joe Girardi told The Associated Press before the game. ?I think our people have done a really good job doing everything they can to protect our fans and protect the players and everyone involved that?s here in this building, you, me, but you?re always worried. I mean, that?s the world we live in. So you put your faith in the people that are taking care of us and you trust them.?

At least 20 people remained in critical condition at U.K. hospitals on Wednesday morning following the devastating Monday evening suicide bombing at Manchester Arena, in which 22-year-old Salman Abedi, a British man of Libyan descent, detonated an improvised explosive device at the end of U.S. pop star Ariana Grande?s concert.

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November 4, 2017

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Survivors Of Manchester Attack Speak Out

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October 20, 2017

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Ring Purchased At Garage Sale May Be Worth Almost Half A Million Dollars

Shopping at garage sales can be hit or miss, but one lucky customer is cashing in on a major find. 

Sotheby?s will auction off a sparkly cocktail ring a woman bought at a car boot sale in 1980s England next month with a starting bid of £250,000 (roughly $325,000). She had thought for decades that it was costume jewelry and wore it without a care in the world, revealed the owner, who declined to be named publicly, the auction house said this week.

The woman had purchased the piece for £10 at a garage sale at West Middlesex University Hospital in Isleworth in west London, according to Sotheby?s. She decided in recent months to have the ring appraised after a jeweler said the stone could be real. 

Sotheby?s Jewelry in London confirmed the stone?s authenticity ? a 19th century 26.27-carat, cushion-shaped white diamond. The auction house added that the stone has a color grade of I and an impressive clarity grade of VVS2. The ring could go for as much as £350,000 (about $450,000).

?We confirmed that it was indeed a diamond. We got it tested with the Gemological Institute of America … and that then dictated the price,? said Sotheby?s Jessica Wyndham, who heads the auction house?s jewelry department.

In the interview in the video above, Wyndham added that it was understandable the owner did not know the ring held a real diamond. 

?It was in an antique style mount, so it was quite heavy,? she said. ?It is mounted in silver around the top and when silver becomes tarnished it becomes quite black. And that mixed with the cut of the stone probably would have meant that it didn?t sparkle very much, and if it was all dirty, you just wouldn?t think that was real.?

The ring will hit auction on June 7.

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October 17, 2017

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Suspected Drunk Driver Crashes Car Into Sheriff’s New Anti-DUI Vehicle

He got the message, but apparently only once it was too late.

Police in northwest Florida say they charged a man with Driving Under the Influence after he crashed his car into a sheriff?s office vehicle that was being used to warn motorists against drink driving.

Citrus County Sheriff?s Office said Paul Wilkins, 63, struck the cones at a traffic control point in Crystal River at 10 p.m. Saturday night.

He then slammed his car into a patrol car, pushing it 30 feet into another cruiser which was emblazoned with the slogan ?a cop or a cab, you decide? ? the rear of which was made to look like a taxi.

?The irony!? the office wrote on Facebook.

Florida Highway Patrol officers arrested Wilkins. Deputies later transported him in the same anti-DUI vehicle to Citrus County Detention Facility.

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October 16, 2017

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Trump Reportedly Asked Intel Chiefs To Publicly Deny Russia Ties

Another account of President Donald Trump attempting to push back on the investigation of his campaign?s ties to the Russian government emerged Monday evening, as The Washington Post reported that the president asked two top intelligence officials to deny any evidence of collusion. 

According to the report, Trump asked Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers to publicly deny that there is any evidence of connections between Trump?s team and Russia. Those requests reportedly came in late March, after then-FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his bureau was looking into the Trump campaign?s ties to Russia.

Coats and Rogers reportedly rejected the requests.

The Post also said that White House officials sought to influence Comey directly:

In addition to the requests to Coats and Rogers, senior White House officials sounded out top intelligence officials about the possibility of intervening directly with Comey to encourage the FBI to drop its probe of Michael Flynn, Trump?s former national security adviser, according to people familiar with the matter. The officials said the White House appeared uncertain about its power to influence the FBI.

?Can we ask him to shut down the investigation? Are you able to assist in this matter?? one official said of the line of questioning from the White House.

?The White House does not confirm or deny unsubstantiated claims based on illegal leaks from anonymous individuals,? a White House spokesperson said in a statement emailed to HuffPost in response to the Post article. ?The president will continue to focus on his agenda that he was elected to pursue by the American people.?

Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said the report raised ?troubling? possibilities:

The Post?s article is the latest in a series of revelations indicating that Trump and his associates have sought to intervene in the FBI?s Russia probe. 

The cascade of news began May 9, when Trump fired Comey, at first citing his conduct during the investigation of Hillary Clinton?s private email server. Trump later said he considered the Russia investigation while weighing Comey?s future at the Justice Department. 

One week later, multiple news outlets reported that Trump had asked Comey during a private meeting on Feb. 14 to stop the investigation of Flynn, whom Trump had fired the day before.

?I hope you can let this go,? the president said to Comey, according to notes Comey reportedly wrote soon after the meeting.

That revelation sparked concern on both sides of the aisle, and some Democrats raised the possibility that the president?s request could constitute obstruction of justice.  

On Thursday, the Justice Department announced it was appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation. Trump attacked the appointment on Twitter, calling the investigation ?the single greatest witch hunt? in U.S. political history. 

And on Friday, the The New York Times reported that Trump had described Comey as a ?nut job? to Russian officials visiting the White House earlier this month, telling them that firing the FBI director eased ?great pressure? on the Russia investigation.

The same day, The Washington Post reported that the FBI is also investigating a current White House official in connection with the Russia probe, in addition to several former campaign officials.

Amid all this, Trump and the White House have denied any wrongdoing and have argued the investigation is detrimental to the country.

?I believe it hurts our country terribly because it shows we?re a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country,? Trump said Thursday. ?And we have very important things to be doing right now, whether it?s trade deals, whether it?s military, whether it?s stopping nuclear ? all of the things that we discussed today. And I think this shows a very divided country.?

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October 10, 2017

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Nicki Minaj Has Been Donating Money To An Indian Village For Years

Earlier this month, a generous-feeling Nicki Minaj took to Twitter to say that she wanted to help some hardworking students pay off their tuition bills.

Minaj ended up not only making good on her promise, but also later announcing that she had decided to create an ?official charity? to help other deserving college students pay off their loans. 

Perhaps hoping to keep the momentum going, the hip-hop superstar revealed another bit of her charitable side over the weekend. In two Instagram posts, Minaj said that she?s been giving money to Pastor Lydia Sloley for years to help pay for a computer center, a reading program, a tailoring institute and two water wells in a small village in India.

?I?m so proud of our sisters in India,? she wrote alongside one image. ?God is so good. Their desire was to have water wells & places where they can worship, places where they can learn technology, computers, reading, etc. We?re just getting started. These women are us and we are them!?

In a video accompanying one of the two posts, a man can be heard thanking Pastor Sloley for the funding she provided (with Minaj?s help) to build the water well. The pastor has created partnerships with two churches in India, hoping she ?empowers women to start their own businesses,? according to her website.

?This is the kind of thing that makes me feel the most proud,? wrote Minaj.

She then added, ?We complain about the most ridiculous little things when some [people] don?t even have clean water. Blessings to India. Our work is far from done.?

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October 6, 2017

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Neil Gorsuch Shows His Hand On Money In Politics As Court Turns Down Big Case

WASHINGTON ? Newly minted Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch showed his hand Monday on where he will likely stand on cases that would increase the amount of power held by large political donors.

As the Supreme Court declined to hear a major campaign finance case that could have led to the lifting of campaign contribution limits to political parties, Gorsuch joined Justice Clarence Thomas in an unwritten dissent. That means Gorsuch and Thomas wanted the court to hear the case, and likely wanted to vote to overturn yet another limit on big money in politics.

The case, Republican Party of Louisiana v. Federal Election Commission, challenged contribution limits placed on state-level political parties by the 2002 McCain-Feingold reform law. These are the limits on ?soft money,? unlimited contributions to the parties for supposedly non-electoral activities, imposed in the wake of scandals related to both how the money was raised and how it was spent.

Gorsuch?s decision to join Thomas, a noted opponent of campaign finance restriction with a written record opposed to all campaign contribution limits and some disclosure rules, suggests that he, too, will be an outspoken critic of restrictions on money in politics.

During his confirmation hearings, Gorsuch refused to answer questions about his views on this subject ? as he did with nearly every other topic presented to him.

Rick Hasen, election law professor at the University of California, Irvine, wrote of Gorsuch?s dissenting vote: ?He was not shy at all ? not only about being willing to wade into this very controversial area, but about announcing publicly his vote to hear the case (something he did not need to do). It could well be that he will be as conservative as Justice Thomas is in these cases.?

The conservative Supreme Court majority that came into being after Justice Sandra Day O?Connor retired from the bench has struck down numerous campaign money limitations. It struck down a key pillar of the McCain-Feingold law in its 2010 Citizens United decision by allowing independent spending by corporations and unions. In the 2014 McCutcheon case, the conservative majority killed limits on the aggregate amount a single donor can give in a two-year election cycle.

In McCutcheon, Chief Justice John Roberts hinted that he might want to reconsider the court?s ruling upholding the McCain-Feingold soft money restrictions. Roberts wrote that the ?gratitude? members of a party may feel toward donors to their particular political party ?stems from the basic nature of the party system.? Roberts then cast doubt that these contributions could be viewed as an opportunity for ?quid pro quo corruption,? the only justification the conservative majority allows for restrictions on campaign money.

This was the third time conservative lawyer Jim Bopp has brought a challenge to the McCain-Feingold ?soft money? ban to the Supreme Court. In his first attempt, the court declined to take the case, although three justices dissented. The parties involved in the second challenge dropped their case before the court could decide whether to take it up.

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October 3, 2017

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Beyoncé’s Push Party Was A ‘Twinning’ Celebration

Before the twins comes the party. 

Beyoncé celebrated her baby shower ? dubbed the ?Carter Push Party? ? Saturday with family and friends, including mom Tina Knowles and pals Kelly Rowland, Serena Williams and La La Anthony at a Beverly Hills property.

The house was decked out with colorful decorations, pink tents beside a pool, and gold letter balloons. 

On Sunday, Queen Bey herself shared photos from the party on Instagram. Her Henna-tattooed belly was on full display as she posed for a portrait and smiled with her husband, Jay Z. 

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

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Her fabulous mom also shared some snaps from inside the bash. 

This woman gets more beautiful every time i see her!! Hotttness personified!!! @lala ????

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Fun fun fun?? Angie, Serena, lala, Vanessa Kelly, Lorraine??

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Last one

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The ?Lemonade? singer announced she?s expecting twins back in February. Since then, the world has been wondering whether she?s having boys or girls.

Beyoncé, who is already mom to 5-year-old Blue Ivy, has said that motherhood changed her. 

?My daughter introduced me to myself,? she told Oprah Winfrey. ?And I have my best friend … You know, my mother and I are so close, and I always prayed that I would have that type of relationship with my daughter.?

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September 30, 2017

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5 Tips On Learning To Carry Your Grief

You don?t think you?ll live past it and you don?t really. The person you were is gone, but the half of you that is still alive wakes up one day and takes over again. ? Barbara Kingsolver

Yesterday I saw someone who looked like my late-husband, who died eleven years ago. I immediately experienced the deep and intense heartache of missing him, and wishing that he was still here, wondering what life would be like had he not died. The same thing happens when something, or someone, reminds me of my son who died nine years ago. No matter how much time has passed, the anguish is still there. I have come to accept that this sorrow will always be a part of my life. It has taken me years to learn how to carry the pain and find a way to live life again.

Whether the loss of your loved one is recent, or many years ago, the pain of learning to live without them can be crippling and it can seem impossible to find a way forward. It is confusing and painful to watch others continue unaffected in their daily lives when your life is shattered. How do you begin to put the pieces of your life back together so that you can find a way to function again? How do you learn to live with the pain? Is it possible to ever feel joy again?

How Do I Carry This Pain?

1. Acknowledge that your life will be different

Death leaves a void in your life that is permanent. Your loved one is no longer here. Nothing you do can change this fact. No matter how much you long for life to be the way it was when your loved one was here, there is no turning back the hands of time. You are stuck here in the present moment without them. This is the brutal and undeniable truth that death and grief bring into your life. Acknowledging that your life will never be the same will help you begin to see a way to put the pieces that are remaining of your life back together again.

2. Let yourself feel all of your emotions

You should be prepared that you will experience a vast array of emotions: anger, fear, irritability, resentment, and hopelessness, being just a few. The actual scope of emotions you may experience is almost endless. If these emotions are not acknowledged and eventually worked through, they will pull you down into the quicksand of grief, each one like a weight attached to your ankle.

Grief demands that our emotions and heartache be adequately attended to, honored, and healed before we are allowed to move forward.

3. Strengthen your grief muscles

Just as we can strengthen our physical muscles, we can work on a regular basis on strengthening our grief muscles. Most of the time we are not even aware we are developing these muscles. Every day that you spend without your loved one, conditions you to learn how to eventually be able to move forward while carrying your grief. No matter how much time passes you will always have moments where the grief is too heavy again, and overwhelms your grief muscles. But if you keep plodding ahead through the pain, the muscles will recover enough to allow you to move out of the deep anguish you are feeling. One step at a time. Do not stop.

4. As time goes on do you best to limit the amount of time you spend during the day focused on your grief

This is a really hard one. It is hard to believe that we have any control over the amount of time we spend mired in our grief. I can look back now and see that I lost years of my life because I didn?t believe that I had any control over my thoughts and feelings. Basically, I allowed my thoughts and feelings to control me.

In the novel, The Girl from the Train, by Irma Joubert, I read an idea that had great appeal to me. The book described the use of a mourning blanket after a loved one?s death. You set aside a specific amount of time during the day and wrap yourself up in the blanket, imagining that your lost loved one is there with you and that you are grieving the loss together. After the blanket is put away, the griever gets on with the business of daily living.

Using an item like a mourning blanket is a physical reminder that you have control over the amount of time you allow yourself to actively grieve throughout the day. It doesn?t mean that you forget or pretend that your pain isn?t real. It means that you also recognize that you must learn how to live and function with the pain.

5. Hang onto the love you shared

Many times our default memories about our lost loved one are the painful ones surrounding the loss. You can change that default picture by making a concerted effort to remember the love you shared. And then, remember that this love can never be lost. This love will always be yours.

Let love help you learn to carry your pain. Healing grief and learning to live without your loved one is the hardest thing you will ever do, but love and loss can learn to walk side by side. By honoring your pain and the love you shared, you can find a way to live again.

You can find my book, The Other Side of Complicated Grief, here.

You can find my Facebook grief support page, here.

Find out more about the sculpture ?Cairn? by Celeste Roberge, pictured above.

This post is part of Common Grief, a Healthy Living editorial initiative. Grief is an inevitable part of life, but that doesn?t make navigating it any easier. The deep sorrow that accompanies the death of a loved one, the end of a marriage or even moving far away from home, is real. But while grief is universal, we all grieve differently. So we started Common Grief to help learn from each other. Let?s talk about living with loss. If you have a story you?d like to share, email us at strongertogether@huffingtonpost.com.

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September 20, 2017

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