Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



Gay Survivors Amy and Chet Square Off in 16th Season
by Ross Forman

This article shared 11466 times since Wed Feb 13, 2008
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Ami Cusack and Chet Welch. Photos courtesy of CBS


Ami Cusack is back on Survivor, and she couldn't be happier.

The next round of the hit CBS-TV show, which is set in Micronesia and began Feb. 7, pits Cusack and nine other former Survivor castaways against 10 Survivor superfans.

'I'm so glad, so happy to do it a second time. The first time was a gift. I'm really, really excited for this time, though,' Cusack said. 'I would do it 10 more times, if I could.'


'Because it feels natural for me: being outside, eating coconuts, hanging out with really cool people and not thinking about a cell phone or other things. It's a real simple life on Survivor, and I really enjoy that.

Cusack, 34, of Golden, Colo., who is lesbian, said she is 'a little more excited' for this round of Survivor because of the Fans vs. Favorites mix.

'Survivor has really changed my life,' she said. 'The biggest thing is, I realize how much the people around me really mean to me and how much we rely on those people, especially for emotional support. Second, I've gotten rid of a lot of stuff. I don't have a lot of stuff in my house that I used to. The material things have [ reduced. ] '


'Ya, clothing, shoes, extra furniture, knick-knacks, etc.,' she said.

Cusack graduated from Golden High School, then attended Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design ( RMCAD ) in Denver. In 1992, while attending RMCAD, Cusack became one of the original six employees of a Golden-based nutritional company called Experiment and Applied Sciences. She started out by answering phones and, by 1996, became the company's charitable director. In 1998, ( with over 350 employees ) , the company was sold and Cusack decided to travel for the next four years. Her travels led her to Australia, Thailand, Tahiti, Iceland, Japan and Africa.

Upon returning to the U.S., she took a job at a coffee shop—and still works there today. Cusack also is a nanny.

She is proud of her association with the LGBT community. In fact, on her first Survivor run, Cusack had her lesbian lover visit the show during one episode.

'I think the best thing that I've gotten from the LGBT community is that I'm not afraid to talk about who I am as a person. I don't hide who I am, what my choices are in life,' Cusack said. 'And I've had people tell me they are comfortable talking about [ their sexual orientation ] because I'm comfortable talking about it.'

Cusack was not the only lesbian on the Vanuatu round of Survivor. Scout Cloud Lee, then 59, also is a lesbian.

'I love being in the [ LGBT ] community. I love being around people who are really free-spirits. I really feel welcome by the LGBT community. I enjoy representing the LGBT community,' Cusack said. 'It was not a tough decision to have [ my lesbian lover ] come [ on the show ] because she's the most athletic, kick-ass girl I know. I think it probably was tougher on my mom and dad that I came out on the show than it was for me.'

Sure, she was out before the show aired, but not everyone knew she had a girlfriend at that time.

The two have since split and now are 'best friends,' said Cusack, who is single.

Cusack started dating women about seven years ago, and has only dated two women in her life.

'I always am into supporting the gay and lesbian community, and love being part of the LGBT community,' said Cusack, who participates in Pride events in Denver and Los Angles.

Cusack said she definitely would consider participating in a future Gay Games, in track and field events.

Chet's a fan

Chet Welch works in customer service for a pharmacy that supplies nursing homes and hospitals with resident-specific medications. He has been in the pharmacy business for 20 years.

He also has spent 25 years coaching contestants for beauty pageants, and has coached 11 Miss Pennsylvania pageant contenders to the title.

But Survivor is his No. 1 love—and the 48-year-old Ford City, Pa., resident is on Survivor: Micronesia, Fans vs. Favorites.

'It was an absolutely thrilled when I got called to go. It was something I long had hoped for,' Welch said. 'I watched Survivor from the first series on. It was something that I always wanted to do, and I actually knew I was going to do. I knew I was going to be on the show; I just didn't know when.

'It's a dream come true to compete on Survivor.'

Welch, 48, who is the oldest openly gay Survivor contestant, said that he watched past rounds of Survivor, 'and I would envision myself on the show, in challenges, at tribal council, what I would say, what I would do, how I would react.

'It was a very surreal phone call when I was told I was going to be one of those people on Survivor, and others now would be watching me.'

Welch has lived in the same house his entire life, but has traveled throughout the United States. He enjoys swimming, hiking, kayaking, dancing and yoga.

Welch has three dogs, 15 sheep, 75 ducks and three cats.

And Bob Cherry is his significant other. The two have been together for about one year.

'I really wanted to use Survivor as a soapbox to express the importance of adopting [ animals ] from shelters,' said Welch, who hails from a rural area outside of Pittsburgh, and lives on a farm. 'The greatest thing about getting on Survivor is that I want to tell people to just keep hanging on to your dreams because they do come true.'

Welch is open about his sexuality on Survivor.

'I went on the show to not be closeted. I was out from the first episode,' he said. 'I'm out in my every day life, and I was not going to play the game any different.'

And he didn't expect his sexuality would impact the game. 'No more than it would affect me in my every day life,' he said.

'In fact, I've never had an issue [ being gay ] , even growing up in a rural community.'

Welch said he has been out most of his life.

'I don't have issues being gay. If someone else does, that's their problem, not mine,' he said. 'I'd like to let the LGBT community know that nothing should bother you, that age shouldn't have an impact, nor [ sexual orientation ] .

'You're not going to enjoy your life unless you are yourself.

'I did not go on Survivor because I was gay; I went on Survivor as a contestant who happens to be gay. It wasn't my purpose to go on Survivor and prove something for the gay community.'

Welch annually attends Pittsburgh's Pride events every June, 'and now I'm looking forward to attending those events as someone who has competed on Survivor.'

And if that meant a grand marshal role was pending, Welch definitely would accept.

This article shared 11466 times since Wed Feb 13, 2008
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

TELEVISION 'Drag Race,' 'Queer Eye,' 'Pose' among Creative Emmy winners 2021-09-13
- Three 2021 Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremonies took place Sept. 11-12—and Netflix's The Queen's Gambit led the way with nine wins going into next weekend's Primetime Emmys, Deadline reported. LGBTQ+ individuals and shows also scored se ...

Gay News

MUSIC Lil Nas X wins top award at MTV VMAs 2021-09-13
- The MTV VMA Awards took place Sept. 12—and an LGBTQ+ artist took home one of the night's top awards. Lil Nas X won Video of the Year for "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," besting Cardi ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Boy Meets Boy,' Jennifer Hudson, 'SVU,' tennis honor, ABBA 2021-09-12
- Ariztical Entertainment is releasing the German movie Boy Meets Boy on DVD and VOD on Oct. 26. According to a press release, the plot of the 70-minute movie is as follows: "Harry has been partying for ...

Gay News

TV Rory O'Malley lands his second gay cartoon role with 'Chicago Party Aunt' 2021-09-11
- Inspired by a popular Twitter account, Netflix's latest adult cartoon, Chicago Party Aunt, takes the Windy City to a whole new level. Superstore star and Second City alumna Lauren Ash plays the titular character, Diane Dunbrowski. ...

Gay News

Constand breaks silence about Bill Cosby 2021-09-07
- Bill Cosby accuser Andrea Constand is breaking her silence to NBC News about the comic/actor's release from prison two months ago, Deadline noted. In a brief clip, Constand tells Kate Snow she "was really shocked — ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Idol' alums, Zendaya, Gaga, 'Queer As Folk,' women rappers 2021-09-05
- American Idol alum David Archuleta said that God urged him to come out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, NBC News noted. The Nashville resident told he wasn't sure if the community would embrace ...

Gay News

Hacks, I May Destroy You, Pose rule LGBTQ Critics' Dorian TV Awards 2021-08-30
--From a press release - AUGUST 29, 2021—HOLLYWOOD, CA—Venerable actress Jean Smart; Saturday Night Live wit Bowen Yang; rising satirist Ziwe; Pose co-creator Steven Canals; teen heartthrob Michael Cimino, of Hulu's Love, Victor; and revered ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Billy Porter, 'Death Drop,' Brandi Carlile, vintage films, Gaga 2021-08-29
- Billy Porter will direct a queer teen comedy feature titled To Be Real for Amazon Studios, which is being helmed by Gabrielle Union's I'll Have Another Productions, noted. Porter, who is currently working on his ...

Gay News

EVENTS Celebrity attendees named for Wizard World Chicago 2021-08-28
- William Shatner (Star Trek; TV's Boston Legal), Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, TV's The Walking Dead), Matthew Lewis (All Creatures Great and Small), James Marsters (TV series Buffy the ...

Gay News

TV Netflix animated series 'Chicago Party Aunt' debuts Sept. 17 2021-08-27
- The LGBTQ-inclusive series Chicago Party Aunt will debut on Netflix on Friday, Sept. 17. Inspired by the popular Twitter account Chicago Party Aunt, this eight-episode adult animated comedy follows Diane Dunbrowski and nephew Daniel as they ...

Gay News

TV 'Dancing with the Stars' to feature first same-sex partnership 2021-08-27
- ABC's Dancing With the Stars will be breaking new ground in the upcoming 30th season—with its first same-sex partnership. According to Deadline, on Aug. 26, host Tyra Banks and executive producer Andrew Llinares revealed that the ...

Gay News

SPORTS Red Stars teaming with Univision for Sept. 25 game 2021-08-23
- The Chicago Red Stars of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and Univision Chicago—part of Univision Communications Inc., the leading Spanish-language media and content company in the country—announced a first-time ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ RuPaul, GALECA toast, Elliot Page, 'Chippendales,' bi model 2021-08-22
- RuPaul revealed a new wax figure at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, a press release noted. The all-new Rainbow Runway experience invites guests to "meet" and take cues from the most commercially successful drag queen of all ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Ben Platt, Billie Jean King, Megan Thee Stallion, 'Horror Stories' series 2021-08-15
- Queer Grammy, Tony and Emmy-winning artist Ben Platt has dropped his new album, Reverie, via Atlantic Records, per a press release. Platt will mark the arrival of Reverie with his biggest North American headline tour to ...

Gay News

Chenoweth and Menzel to co-host 'Wicked in Concert' PBS special 2021-08-06
- PBS's Wicked in Concert special on Aug. 29 will be co-hosted by the musical's original Broadway stars, Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, Deadline reported. The event is slated to feature performances by Mario Cantone, Gavin Creel, ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.