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Friday, April 8, 2016

HAVING GAY & HIV-POSITIVE GREG LOUGANIS ON WHEATIES BOX MAKES 'POWERFUL STATEMENT'

General MIlls made the official announcement on Tuesday (5 April) that Olympic diving legend Greg Louganis will appear on boxes of Wheaties breakfast cereal beginning in May.

The honor comes nearly 30 tears after the four-time gold medalist’s final Olympics but some LGBTI leaders say its significance is perhaps even more considerable now.

‘By including a gay, HIV-positive Olympic hero on its iconic breakfast box, Wheaties is sending a powerful statement that living your authentic life is what champions are made of,’ GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement.

The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation pointed out that Louganis, who came out as HIV-positive in 1995, is being featured nearly two decades since the US first began seeing a decrease in the number of new HIV infections.

‘Stigma around HIV is a key factor inhibiting progress. To see an HIV-positive man on a Wheaties box would be a tremendous stride in the stigma barrier that prevents so many Americans from getting tested and treated for HIV,’ says Joel Goldman, the foundation’s managing director of The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
‘But, the main reason to see Greg Louganis on a box of Wheaties is that he is undeniably the greatest diver of all time.’

Louganis told National Public radio Tuesday that making a Wheaties box means far more now than it would have when he was younger and coming off winning the 3 meter springboard and 10 meter platform events in both the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.
‘Back in ’95, I wasn’t expected to live very long because we thought of HIV-AIDS as a death sentence, so to be here today, now 56, the box means so much more to me than it would have then because I feel like I’m being embraced as a whole person, not just for my athletic achievements.’

Louganis has been an inspiration for younger openly gay divers including Tom Daley who was a bronze medalist at the 2012 Olympics in London and will compete this summer in Rio de Janeiro.

‘I would have always wanted someone like him as a role model on the front of a cereal box,’ Daley told NPR.

‘He’s a great model and forever will be the greatest diver to walk this earth.’

SOURCE: GAY STAR NEWS

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