Justine Lindsay selection for the TopCats – Last week, when Justine Lindsay was selected to play for the TopCats, she became the first player in NFL history to do so. Lindsay made the announcement on Instagram that she will be joining the cheerleading squad for the Carolina Panthers for the upcoming season. This makes her the first openly transgender cheerleader in the history of the National Football League. When Lindsay wrote that post, she was actually coming out to the majority of the people in her life, including her teammates and the folks she had known since childhood.
It is possible that Lindsay is not in fact the first transgender cheerleader to be hired by an NFL team, as there are no definitive records kept by any of the 32 teams in the league that may prove this fact. However, she is the first person to be completely transparent about it. Chandalae Lanouette, the director of TopCats, stated that Lindsay mentioned on her application that she was transgender, even though the majority of the individuals in Lindsay’s life were unaware of this fact.
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Lanouette said, via BuzzFeed “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.”
The National Football League (NFL) and other professional sports in the United States have both seen gradual changes in their cheerleading squads over the past few years. A great number of teams have begun to include males in their rosters, and some have even abandoned traditional teams entirely in favor of a “spirit squad” or another similarly structured organization. Also for the 2022 season, the TopCats have included two males on their total roster of 30 players. Lindsay is not embarrassed by the fact that she will be a part of the team’s history, despite the fact that this was not her intention. She is well aware of how significant it is to be a Black trans woman and what that status might imply to a great number of individuals all around the country.
“This is big,” she told BuzzFeed. “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 … I’m happy because I was able to break down that door and tell people, ‘Hey, we are not just sexual beings. 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.’ ”