Earlier this week Australian Survivor made its season six debut featuring non-binary contestant Phil, a world first for the franchise.
Originating in the US Survivor has this year entered it’s 20th season and features various international versions, including the very popular Australian Survivor.
During its time the program has had its fair share of headlines, from the time it decided to divide tribes based on race to the infamous and uncomfortable outing of transgender contestant Zeke.
Australian Survivor has not been without its criticism for casting issues as well. Previous seasons have seen only 1 – 2 people of colour cast on the program.
LGBTIQ contestants have had similar issues of under representation with only a small number represented across the six seasons, including ex-AFLW player Moana Hope.
Meet Phil, the first non-binary contestant on Australian Survivor
With the continuing COVD-19 restrictions in the country the 2021 season of Australian Survivor is looking different in more ways than one.
Instead of the usual golden beaches and bikini clad babes the background for this season is the red dirt of the Australian outback.
Filmed in Cloncurry in Queensland this years theme is Brains Vs Brawn. Pitting those with the physical dominance in life over those who rely on their brains.
Amongst the slightly more diverse cast than is usually seen is Phil. A professional crochet artist known on instagram as @chiliphilly Phil has over 130k followers. Some of their most high profile followers already include Drag Race Courtney Act, Crystal Methyd, Art Simone and Pandora Boxx. Phil is also the first ever non-binary contestant to ever feature on the program in the world.
When its International Non-Binary People’s Day (14th of July) on the same week I’m announced for Survivor and the first ever non-binary person on the show (Ever? In the world? Do we have a fact checker?). Love that coincidence.
— Phil Ferguson (@thechiliphilly) July 13, 2021
“I’m straight up, I’m pretty honest. I’m a Scorpio, they’re loyal. Because of my ability to understand people and read them, I’ll be able to make any sort of plan happen.” Phil said before the game started.
Debuting on the show in the worlds cutest crochet crocodile hat Phil was quickly loved by their tribe mates for their joyful personality.
However despite the hat being designed in the colours of the non-binary flag Phil’s tribe mates remained oblivious to their non-binary identity. Sadly after just 3 short days on Australian Survivor Phil was voted out through a shock twist.
After fellow tribe mate George found an advantage allowing him to save half his tribe from elimination at the first vote George left Phil behind.
Deemed physically weaker than their remaining tribe mates Phil was quickly voted out, becoming the first eliminated contestant for the season.
However Phil ensured they wouldn’t be forgotten, leaving behind their colourful hat a reminder of their time on the program.
View this post on Instagram
“I didn’t get to personally disclose my personal pronouns”
Following their elimination attention was drawn to their pronouns on screen. Many viewers were quick to point out that fellow contestants had failed to use correct pronouns for the colourful contestant.
But Phil was quick to point out that they never had the chance to disclose their pronouns to the tribe. Taking to twitter after their elimination they set the record straight.
Also I’ll say now, I didn’t get to personally disclose to anyone my preferred pronouns out there. So any discussion on why people didn’t use them (didn’t know) and more importantly why they did (definitely didn’t know) keep that in mind <3
— Phil Ferguson (@thechiliphilly) July 18, 2021
Sadly there will be no more Phil for Australian Survivor. However we can certainly look forward to more of their quirky and entertaining work online.
Watch the full trailer for Australian Survivor: Brains vs Brawn below
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.