Years ago Wheaties refused this gay Olympian a spot on the cereal box. They can still make it right.

In 1988, Greg Louganis became the first male athlete to sweep the diving events in two consecutive Olympic games.

His record has remained unbroken for nearly 30 years.

He also received the James E. Sullivan Award for Most Outstanding Amateur Athlete in the United States in 1984, the year of his first Olympics sweep, and he was named "Athlete of the Year" by ABC's Wide World of Sports in 1988.


He probably would have won in the 1980 games, too, if not for the United States' boycott of that year's summer games (he only won the silver at his first Olympics in 1976, when he was 16 years old).

Photo by Pascal Rondeau/Getty Images.

Greg Louganis is also an out, gay man.

Which everyone is all cool about now, but at the height of his career, that wasn't really the case. For all his remarkable accomplishments, there's one place where being gay was, and is, an obstacle for him.

Louganis has yet to be featured on a box of Wheaties cereal.

As Louganis says in an upcoming HBO documentary about his life, he did not fit the criteria for Wheaties' "wholesome demographic."

And yet, the so-called "Breakfast of Champions" has depicted hundreds of athletes on the box, from front-runners of diversity, such as Jesse Owens and Babe Didrikson Zaharias, to not-so-upstanding citizens like Joe Paterno and Alex Rodriguez.

Tiger Woods made it onto the box multiple times! Photo by Getty Images.

Of course "you don't fit the criteria for our wholesome demographic" is not-so-coded-corporate-polite-talk for, "Your status as an HIV-positive gay man makes you a moral and promotional liability and outweighs everything else you've done with your life."

Let's just say that blowout hair and acid-wash jeans weren't the worst things about the 80s.

It's time Wheaties honors Louganis with the cereal box cover he deserves.

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on marriage equality in June 2015, a petition began circulating to get Wheaties to right their wrong and put Louganis on the box.

Wheaties recently made a special cereal box with the visage of Evan Wolfson, a lawyer, gay rights activist, and founder of Freedom to Marry. There's also Caitlyn Jenner, champion of both the Olympics and transgender rights, who famously graced a Wheaties box decades before she came out as transgender earlier this year.

In the past couple years, General Mills, Wheaties' parent corporation, has come out in support of LGBTQ rights.



Wheaties can't undo the decisions it made in the past, but it can take a few small steps to fix things in the present.

It's not too late to give Louganis the Wheaties box cover he was denied years ago.

Something as simple as a retroactive Wheaties box featuring the face of, say, record-holding champion Olympic diver Greg Louganis would go a long way toward saying, "We've made mistakes, but we have learned the error of our ways. People deserve to be recognized for their accomplishments and talents regardless of what mutually consenting adults do in their bedrooms or what's in their blood."

Humans, as well as corporations, are capable of learning and changing and making the world a better place, together. And, yes, a cereal box cover is one way we can do that.

If you'd like to show your support, go here to sign the petition.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Photo by Tod Perry

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