The Carolina Panthers TopCats cheerleading team has hired the NFL's first openly transgender cheerleader, Justine Lindsay. The 29-year-old athlete says she’s happy to break down barriers for trans generations to come. More inside…
The LGBTQ+ community has made history as we celebrate Pride Month.
The Carolina Panthers TopCats cheerleading team has hired the NFL's first openly transgender cheerleader, JustineLindsay. The 29-year-old athlete announced she made the team earlier this year in an Instagram post:
”Cats Out the Bag you are looking at the newest member of the Carolina Panthers TopCats Cheerleader’s @topcats as the first Transgender female,” said Justine. “I would like to thank the beautiful and talented dancers who supported me along the way alumni TopCats family and friends for your love and support. I would not have gotten to this moment in my life if it wasn’t for the support. Also to my beautiful coach @chandalaelanouette you are a special being that I truly cherish thank you taking that leap of faith on me to be apart of your legacy and so many others. This is a moment I will never forget and I cannot wait to show you all what this girl has to bring. Thank you @topcats a dream come true.”
In a recent interview with BuzzFeed News, Lindsay said that she was "so scared" to share the IG post in which she publicly came out.
”I just felt like when I posted it, whatever reaction I get from everyone, it does not matter," she said. “And then my phone started blowing up."
Apparently, no one knew she was trans. It was a secret she’d kept from everyone except her family.
Charlotte Lanouette, the director of the TopCats, said it said Lindsay noted on her application that she was transgender, but it was her talent that landed her a spot on the team.
“My goal is to create a team of individuals that are absolute fire on the field but are incredible human beings in the locker room, good friends, good people, and at the end of the day, you have to walk through the door first to get to that spot,” she said.
While preparing for the team’s tryouts, Lindsay said she watched “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team” religiously, and she noticed their appearance was a major factor in whether they would be selected.
Lindsay grappled over whether she should rock her bald head or not. She was relieved to learn her coach wanted her to rock it. She said she is happy to “inspire other young girls who may be insecure rocking their bald look.”
“This is big,” she said. “I think more people need to see this. It’s not because I want recognition. It’s just to shed light on what’s going on in the world.”
As a Black trans woman, Lindsay is proud to knock down barriers for others following in her footsteps.
“I’m happy because I was able to break down that door and tell people, ‘Hey, we are not just sexual beings,’” Lindsay said. “‘We are actual human beings who want to better ourselves.’ I felt like, Why not tell the world: 'Hey, listen, this is a great accomplishment.'”
Photo: Lindsay's IG