Justine Lindsay Breaks Barriers As The First Trans Cheerleader In The NFLBy Peter C
What makes sporting activities unique is that non-athletes also stand a chance to break and set new records. This is the case of Justine Lindsay, a 29-year-old transgender woman who became the NFL’s first openly transgender cheerleader. This happened after Lindsay joined the Carolina Panthers TopCats team for the 2022 season.
Lindsay officially announced this to her esteemed followers via an Instagram post. She also thanked her coach, Chandalae Lanouette, for taking a leap of faith in her and allowing her to be a part of the team’s legacy.
She shared that during the tryouts for the Carolina Panthers TopCats cheerleading team, she felt a mix of nerves and excitement, but despite this, she was able to push through her nerves and showcase her abilities with confidence.
Although the reason for this trend is not yet understood, NFL cheerleading teams have recently increased their recruitment of diverse individuals. For instance, some cheerleading teams opened their doors to male dancers in 2018, and the Panthers made a significant move in 2021 by including two out-gay Black men, Tre Booker and Chris Crawford, on their dance team.
The NFL’s Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Jonathan Beane, has reiterated the position of the body to support and encourage moves that will strengthen diversity and inclusion among athletes.
Unfortunately, Lindsay’s spotlight has also come with backlash, but she has the perfect response to the haters: “I’m too busy living my best life to pay attention to the negativity.” As she continues to make history, Lindsay’s message is clear: “I got this.”