Survivor 46 star hopes to inspire other LGBTQ+ South Asians

Author: Charlie Duncan

LGBTQ Survivor 46 star Bhanu Gopal

Survivor 46 is well underway on US TV and fans have been enraptured by LGBTQ+ player Bhanu Gopal.

The US Survivor franchise is back for its 46th season, and has brought with it a cast of another 18 hopefuls vying for the title of Sole Survivor – and the small matter of $1 million (£789,000).

The franchise features physically exhausting trials as well as a cunning social game that forces players to use all their wits to win.

Warning: spoilers follow for Survivor 46

Survivor star Bhanu Gopal identifies as queer

An IT quality analyst from India, Bhanu Gopal moved to the US after 30 years. Speaking to Parade, he said: “In 2013, I got a job offer in the US and came here on a work permit for six years.

“My work permit was up to the end of 2018 but in 2017 I met [George]. A year later, we got married.”

On his upbringing, and why he decided to apply to appear on Survivor, Gopal said: “For the longest time, I was looking for a platform. As a queer man, a South Asian, I wanted to [inspire] folks who look like me and who came from humble beginnings like me because I grew up in poverty, with nothing. For most of my life, Survivor has been my life.

“Living under a thatched roof, rain used to fall on us inside the house. So, it’s been like that. When I watched Survivor for the first time, I was like: ‘Oh, that’s hit me close to home’.”

Gopal added that George is the reason he applied to be on the show.

“My husband introduced me to Survivor. He’s my support, my strength of pillar. Whatever you have to call him, he’s all that. And with his support, with his encouragement, I applied, and I’m here today.”

Has Bhanu Gopal been eliminated from Survivor?

The answer to that is yes, but the queer player’s tribal council departure was full of emotion.

Bhanu became the fourth eliminated player after failing to convince his fellow Yanu Tribe members not to vote him out.

Before his elimination, he said: “The reason I’m on this show is I want to share my story. The poverty [of my childhood] is like our camp… I am the first one in my family to move to the United States, and find my partner.

“I wanted to be on Survivor because there are so many Bhanus still out there, living in poverty.

“[But] there’s always hope and you can move mountains. If I can come from that place, you can also.”

Have there been any other LGBTQ+ Survivor players?

Former Survivor winner Erika Casupanan came out in a cheeky on New Year’s Eve 2023, after claiming victory on Survivor 41 in 2021.

And The Traitors star Parvati Shallow, who won Survivor: Micronesia – Fans vs Favourites in 2008, is dating queer comedian Mae Martin.

Elsewhere, queer filmmaker Chris Stanley has spoken about his 27-year age gap relationship with Survivor‘s Brett LaBelle.

Actual Story on Pink News
Author: Charlie Duncan

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