AfterElton.com: Just by the nature of our society, AR tends to feature many married and dating straight couples. Do you feel it's important for Americans to see relationships like yours alongside the straight ones?
Tom: Yes, I think so. We ran a good race and we got along well. I hope what middle America takes away from this is that we have a healthy relationship. We weren't on this race “reading” each other like some of the teams were. I think we represented ourselves well. I think it's great that our relationship was showcased in this way.
AE: Are you happy with how CBS portrayed you?
Terry: Actually, yes
Tom: To clarify – You can only be portrayed with the information you are giving them. Our experience was that they were doing a pretty good job. I don't think anyone was being “portrayed”. We understand that CBS had to edit, etc., but we feel 100% assured that contestants were being portrayed the way they really are.
AE: It seemed like when things got difficult the straight married/dating couples frequently pulled apart rather than together (Peter and Sarah and Rob and Kimberly especially) whereas the same-sex pairings, whether straight or gay, tended to pull together and be supportive. Frankly, you guys made gay relationships look great, especially compared to straight ones. Any thoughts about that?
Terry: Well, we can only be who we are –and we can't always predict how we come across. Amazing Race showed that, gay or straight, relationships were strong on the show. Who out there in Middle America would've thought the two gay guys from New York City would become extremely close to the coalminer and his wife from Kentucky?
AE: The episodes were edited in such a way that it seemed like there were two types of teams--those out only for themselves and winning, and those who were helpful to the other teams and there for the experience as much as for the money. It seemed like the two of you, Erwin and Godwin, Lyn and Karlyn, and David and Mary were on the same side and actually became friends. Was that the case?
Tom: That's 100% accurate. At first we thought we would not make friends. But the minute we met Mary we said, “My God – this woman is so genuine and sweet. We realized in China that we were developing friendships with the other teams, and that we would've done anything for any of the “backpack” teams – and they would've done the same for us.
Terry: On our last leg, the Cho brothers actually owed us for helping them.
Tom: We hoped they could've towed our boat for us.
AE: It's almost like those that were considered the minorities stuck together. Any thoughts on that?
Tom: All the teams were pretty diverse. But yes, the minorities seemed to gravitate towards each other right away.
AE: Regarding the last episode - in your sampan boat off the coast of Vietnam, you both had great difficulty rowing. Tom surprised everyone when he jumped in the water and actually started towing Terry. Since this occurred right around the “floating village”, did it ever occur to you that the water there might be really dirty and unsanitary?
Tom: Yeah, but you know what? I was already so dirty at that point that it didn't even matter. Honestly, in looking back on it – I wish I had jumped into the water around three hours before that!
Terry: What they didn't actually show was that we were already drenched with water because our boat had actually flooded – right at the point when we would have been neck and neck with the beauty queens.
Tom: We had been leaning over to reach the pearls in the baskets, and we started taking on water. And then the bottom of our boat started to like – fall out. We had to bail out all that water. It was a mess. It was disgusting. We thought that in a minute we'd be sitting on top of the boat! At that point I really should've started towing.
AE: Prior to Amazing Race, in your travels together, did you ever find yourselves in any critical or dangerous situations like the ones you faced on the show?
Terry: No, in fact, we never even went hiking or boating together. Frankly, the only time I ever broke into a sweat was when I would go to the spa (laughs).
AE: Were you surprised that David and Mary, the coalminer and wife from Kentucky who had never met gay people before, were so fond of you? Were the feelings mutual?
Tom: They were just the sweetest people ever. Terry and I told them they absolutely met gay people before but they probably just didn't know it.
Terry: They are such genuine people. What you saw on TV is just what they are like in real life.
Tom: We can only hope that other people are as open-minded as David and Mary.
AE: Did any of the other couples have trouble with you guys because you are gay?
Terry: No – I think people saw us for our personality, not for our sexuality. We certainly didn't look at the straight people that way – we didn't look at them as “straight people”. We looked at them as people first. When they looked at us, they realized we had personalities that they were comfortable and fine with.
AE: Obviously AR can only show a little bit of what happens each week. Did you spend a lot of time with the other couples? Any funny stories that didn't make it onto the air?
Terry: Well, we can't divulge anything that went on behind the scenes. But I can tell you we had such a great time on the train to Mongolia. We actually got to sleep with the cheerleaders (Kellie and Jamie).
Tom: Tyler and James were jealous because we got to sleep with the cheerleaders before they did (laughs).
AE: OK, now ‘fess up – did those two guys (Tyler and James) flirt with you just to try and get around you?
Tom: No…. (laughs) they didn't.
Terry: At first we actually thought they were gay.
Tom: I say the jury is still out on that one (laughs).
Terry: No….. they aren't. But actually, James showed me how to stoke my coals in a fireplace.
AE: Reality television has often been accused of manipulating footage of how people behaved to "create" drama. How do you feel about how AR treated/portrayed everyone?
Terry: I would say people were portrayed accurately. Those that argued with each other on camera argued with each other off camera as well. With us – we didn't argue that much at all on camera – and that was shown too.
Tom: Terry and I are really pleased and proud of our being in the race. We didn't go on the race to represent the entire gay population. We went on to represent ourselves. Some of the other teammates are not sure how they feel about themselves right now – but you know – only time will tell.
AE: Now that you are off the show, whom are you now rooting for?
Terry: It would be a three-way tie David and Mary, the Cho brothers , and the Alabama single moms – Lynn and Carlyn - Backpack rules!
Tom: We would love for them to be the three teams in the finals.
AE: It seems moot to ask now, but how is your relationship with each other after The Amazing Race? Has it been changed at all by the experience?
Terry: If anything, our relationship is stronger than ever.
Tom: I think the race reaffirmed that we are supposed to be together. We were able to get through it together. It was a good thing for us.
Terry: And we had FUN.
Tom: We definitely had fun, and hopefully we conveyed that.
AE: Are there any more traveling plans in the future?
Tom: Sure! I travel a lot for my job - I'm Director of Admissions for Columbia University's Teachers College – so I'll have the opportunity to travel around the world. Unfortunately, Terry won't be able to travel with me on those trips.
AE: Have the two of you considered some future trips together where you once again would be roughing it – boating, hiking, mountain-climbing - based on your Amazing Race experience?
Terry: We have given some thought to signing up for row boating in Central Park (laughs). For that matter, we would whole-heartedly go for going back on Amazing Race for the All-Stars competition. We would love to do it again.
AE: Is there anything you'd like to say to your gay fans out there - the readers of AfterElton.com who've been following you in The Amazing Race?
Terry: Well, first of all – Joan Rivers – I hear you have a talk show coming up – I'd really like to be on it! Seriously – we thank everyone for the support and for rallying around us. We'd definitely LOVE to get on an Amazing Race All Stars show.
Tom: We [would] love to have public reality shows select all the openly-gay contestants from past competitions and put us on an island for a special all gay all-star competition – and let's see what happens! (laughs) Seriously - I think we (gays) have competitive teams and we know how to have fun. It's great for TV and it's great for America to see all-gay teams competing and performing along side everyone else.
AE: Reality shows are rough on the contestants. One can really get beat up. You don't mind going back?
Terry: I don't feel beat up at all – I feel invigorated. It's like “adult sleep-away camp”. I had such a great time. http://www.afterelton.com/people/2006/10/tomandterry.html