Over the past several months and years, transgender women participating in women’s sports has become a highly debated issue that has become heavily politicized. But that didn’t stop Justine Simone Lindsay from becoming the first openly transgender cheerleader in NFL history last year – and she’s back again this year.
Last November, Lindsay shared on Instagram that she had made the Panthers’ Topcats Cheerleading squad, becoming the first transgender female cheerleader in NFL history.
“Cat’s out the bag. You are looking at the newest member of the Carolina Panthers Topcats Cheerleaders as the first transgender female. 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,” Linsday posted on Instagram.
Though Lindsay did disclose on her application that she was a transgender woman, team director Chandalae Lanouette made it clear that she was accepted because of her ability as a cheerleader and a teammate.
“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,” Lanouette said.
Lindsay is back for a second year with the Carolina Panthers, and the NFL world had plenty to say about it on social media, with some people criticizing the move and others offering their support.
wow this guy has an american flag in his bio? never would’ve guessed https://t.co/ESJYLoO4V3
— brian “ted” lamb (@Brians_webpage1) September 21, 2023
surely the comments are nice and respectful https://t.co/mIweNe8n9J
— Awake (0-2 its over arc) (@ToomuchHim) September 20, 2023
Didn’t even though know this
Which is good because it shouldn’t matter https://t.co/jHUKmDFPnG
— StephonK. (@stephonk83) September 21, 2023
You love to see it, good for everyone involved 👏🏽 https://t.co/rqhKdrMPGG
— s 3 x ɴ ɪ ɴ ᴇ ™️ (2-0) #5(3-0) (@S3X9NERA) September 21, 2023
Yall ever wonder why some “straight” people are so obsessed with what gay and trans people do and how they live their life. Its pretty obvious why……. https://t.co/ppbJcWkksD
— 💙Lolo❄️ (@TrendyElise) September 21, 2023
i hope she enjoys the rest of her season!! https://t.co/u7XYLCUZwG
— 1eviin (@1eviin3) September 21, 2023
She's so cute. Her little face looks so nervous but I know she's gonna slay. And she black so y'all know I'm finna support.
Black trans women deserve everything. https://t.co/yOvtp2l7vY
— Cierra (@CierraCierra25) September 21, 2023
It’s certainly a major move for the NFL.