Petition To Put Trans Athlete Chris Mosier On A Wheaties Box Shows How Important LGBTQ Representation Is
For an athlete, is there anything quite as momentous as being featured on the Wheaties cereal box? I mean, yes, winning competitions and earning medals are obviously things to be proud of — but there's a reason so many people think duathlete Chris Mosier should be on a Wheaties box, and have accordingly begun a petition to try to make it happen: It's one of the most visible ways to celebrate an athlete's achievements. I'm serious: As a kid, I grew up recognizing iconic symbols like the Olympic rings and the phrase "going for the gold" — but what did I see every day in my kitchen and every time I went to the grocery story? Who the featured athlete was on the Wheaties box, of course.
Earlier this year, Mosier made history as the first openly transgender athlete to qualify for a U.S. national team. Mosier is not participating in the 2016 Rio Olympics, but his star is certainly rising; for instance, he already has a coveted Nike sponsorship, and his reputation as an amazingly skilled runner and cyclist suggests that he will be a point of inspiration and a household name for generations to come.
Although it might seem trivial or commonplace, something like an advertisement on a cereal box can be super far-reaching and inspirational for multiple generations. Seeing representation you can relate to right at the breakfast table with you has the potential to work wonders when it comes to self-esteem and envisioning yourself in the same success. The Wheaties box is also a cultural icon for us: According to The Daily Dot, amazing and beloved athletes have been featured on the Wheaties box since 1934, beginning with baseball icon Lou Gehrig.
If the petition were to succeed, Mosier would join Caitlyn Jenner, who, prior to her transition, was featured on the Wheaties box in 1977 after medaling at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, and Greg Louganis, who is openly gay and HIV positive and was featured on the Wheaties box earlier in 2016 in celebration of his 1984 and 1988 Olympic gold medals. These representations of LGBTQ athletes can inspire youths, showing them that they can achieve anything they want, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. And in a time where LGBTQ rights are still an uphill battle, these representations are more important than ever. The transgender community faces many obstacles that are especially harrowing: Transgender people are often at risk for being fired based on their gender identity, losing their housing because of their gender identity, and struggle to find equal and safe access to health care, for example.
While having Mosier on a Wheaties box would of course be just one step towards acceptance and equality, it would be a pretty big one; it provides an opportunity to inspire a whole lot of young people. And what could be better than that?
To sign the petition, head to Care2 Petitions online.