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Duathlete Chris Mosier made history last year as the first openly transgender athlete to qualify for a U.S. national team.
Now, fans are asking Wheaties for another first—through a petition calling for Mosier to become the first trans athlete to fill the iconic spot on a Wheaties box.
“As a transgender woman and activist, I’ve seen firsthand how the power of companies and brands can influence culture and social issues,” said Sarah Rose, LGBTQ issues advocate at advocacy petition site Care2. “An endorsement from Wheaties would bring another level of validation to transgender athletes everywhere and send the message that they are just as much a part of America’s story as athletes past.”
The cereal company has featured popular sports stars on its boxes since 1934 when baseball icon Lou Gehrig became the first athlete to model for the now-coveted slot. In recent years, athletes like Stephen Curry, Lindsay Vonn, and Adrian Peterson have appeared on boxes of Wheaties.
Few openly LGBT athletes have graced a Wheaties box, though. Bruce Jenner was featured in 1976 after winning gold in the Olympic decathlon, but that was decades before coming out as transgender—and as Caitlyn. A Greg Louganis box finally arrived in April as part of the Wheaties Legends series, and the openly gay, HIV-positive diving champ told the New York Times that homophobia was likely the reason the company didn’t offer him a contract after he won gold in 1984 and 1988.
Louganis’s Wheaties image appeared, notably, after a Change.org petition with 41,000 signatures was hand-delivered to the headquarters of General Mills, the company that produces the cereal.
At the time this article was published, the petition asking General Mills to offer Chris Mosier the coveted spot had almost met its 5,000-signature goal.
“What better way is there,” asked the petition, “to show aspiring young athletes that anyone can be a champion?”
Mary Emily O'Hara is an LGBTQ reporter. Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone, NBC Out, Daily Dot, Broadly, Vice, the Daily Beast, the Advocate, Huffington Post, DNAinfo, Al Jazeera, and Portland's Pulitzer Prize-winning newsweekly Willamette Week, among other outlets.