America, meet your LGBTQ Olympians proudly representing red, white, and blue.

Greg Louganis won Olympic gold medals for diving in 1984 and 1988. But he still wasn't quite enough to land a coveted Wheaties box.

And by "enough," I mean straight.

"[Wheaties'] response was that I didn’t fit their wholesome demographics or whatever," Louganis once explained of the cereal snub. "Basically, being gay, or being rumored that I was gay, [prevented me from being on the box]."


Photo by Pascal Rondeau/Getty Images.

If your blood is boiling at that, you're not alone.

When it comes to America's acceptance of LGBTQ athletes, clearly, a lot has changed since Louganis was given the cold shoulder two decades ago. But we don't need a cereal box to tell us that — just look at this year's Team USA roster.

America boasts seven out and proud LGBTQ Olympians competing in this year's games — and all of them are women.

These badass queer athletes are helping show young LGBTQ people around the world that, yes, they can play sports too — and be amazing at it.

1. Brittney Griner, basketball

When the 6'8" center isn't snagging rebounds, Griner's working on her mobile app, BG:BU, which helps young people fight bullying.

Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images.

2. Megan Rapinoe, soccer

Rapinoe helped the U.S. women's soccer team win gold against Japan at the 2012 games. Also, she can't travel without gum and a reliable neck pillow, in case you're wondering what she probably brought with her carry-on luggage to Brazil.

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images.

3. Ashley Nee, canoe/kayak

Nee — who's been on the world championship stage for the past three years — basically lives in the water. But she can have fun on land too. Her hobbies include street art and long boarding.

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images.

4. Kelly Griffin, rugby

Today, Griffin is a warrior on the field, but that wasn't always the case. She didn't start playing rugby until her freshman year of college.

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images.  

5. Seimone Augustus, basketball

Augustus, who helped lead her team to gold in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, started her own foundation to raise awareness around health and wellness.

Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images.

6. Jillion Potter,  rugby

Potter is a Coloradan (who's kinda obsessed with flossing) who helped her team win bronze in the world championships in 2013.

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images.

7. Angel McCoughtry, basketball

McCoughtry has already set individual U.S. records at the Olympics for best field goal percentage and most field goals made. But she also wins brownie points for having a song available on iTunes called “Illusion."

Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images.

This isn't just a big year for queer U.S. Olympians either. Globally, there are more out LGBTQ Olympians than ever before.

There's a record-breaking 43 (and counting) out LGBTQ Olympians in total participating in this year's games, according to historian Tony Scupham-Bilton and Outsports.

And that's a huge flippin' deal (that diving pun's for you, Tom Daley).

Olympic diver Tom Daley (U.K.) made a splash after coming out in 2013. Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images.

So is 2016 just ... gayer than years past?

I wish! Queer athletes have always competed in the Olympics, of course, but ever-evolving societal views have made more athletes comfortable competing as their authentic selves. What's even cooler about 2016 is that game-changing new policies are opening the door for more transgender Olympians to compete too.

While we certainly shouldn't ignore the fact that, in many regions of the world, progress on LGBTQ rights and visibility has been much slower — and in some places, legislation is even going backwardthere's no denying that the global trend is bending toward equality.

Nicola Adams is an out and proud boxer from the U.K. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images for BEGOC.

Hudson Taylor, founder of Athlete Ally — a leading organization combating homophobia in sports — told Upworthy, "The progress is palpable."

"In the last year, we have seen more athletes come out, more allies speak out, and more teams and leagues take a stand than at any other time in history," he noted.

All of this progress surely puts a smile on Louganis' face. After all, he's been demanding change since his Olympics three decades ago.

“We’ve come so far, as far as marriage equality and so many things that I’ve really kind of fought hard for,” Louganis said. “I never thought I’d see the day that I would be able to get married.”

Oh, and that whole Wheaties fiasco? A popular online petition demanding Louganis get his cereal box got the right people's attention at General Mills earlier this year, and justice was finally served. He got his Wheaties box.

“It means more now than it probably would’ve then because they would’ve been celebrating the athlete [back then],” he recently told "Oprah: Where are they Now." “I’m a gay man living with HIV. I feel like I’m being embraced as a whole person and not just a part of me.”

Photo courtesy of General Mills, used with permission.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
True

This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

Keep Reading Show less

The Schmidt family's Halloween photoshoot has become an annual tradition.

Two of Patti Schmidt's three sons were already well into adulthood when her daughter Avery was born, and the third wasn't far behind them. Avery, now 5, has never had the pleasure of close-in-age sibling squabbles or gigglefests, since Larry, Patrick, and Gavin are 28, 26, and 22, respectively—but that doesn't mean they don't bond as a family.

According to People.com, Patti calls her sons home to Point Pleasant, New Jersey, every fall for a special Halloween photoshoot with Avery. And the results are nothing short of epic.

The Schmidt family started the tradition in 2017 with the boys dressing as the tinman, the scarecrow, and the cowardly lion from "The Wizard of Oz." Avery, just a toddler at the time, was dressed as Dorothy, complete with adorable little ruby slippers.

The following year, the boys were Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, and Avery was (of course) Princess Leia.

In 2019, they did a "Game of Thrones" theme. ("My husband and I were binge-watching (Game of Thrones), and I thought the boys as dragons would be so funny," Schmidt told TODAY.)

In 2020, they went as Princess Buttercup, Westley, Inigo Montoya, and Fezzik from "The Princess Bride."

Patti shared a video montage of each year's costume shoot—with accompanying soundtracks—on Instagram and TikTok. Watch:

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."