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The NFL Has Its First Transgender Cheerleader

AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman

Biological male dancer Justine Lindsay will be the first openly transgender NFL cheerleader.

Lindsay, 29, is the newest addition to the Carolina Panthers' cheerleading squad, the TopCats.


Lindsay made the announcement in an Instagram post. 

"Cats Out the Bag," the post began, "you are looking at the newest member of the Carolina Panthers TopCats Cheerleader's @topcats as the first Transgender female." 

"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," the post stated.

"This is my reality this is my story," Lindsay wrote in another post. "Own it believe in it and everything will fall into place." 

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Lindsay said she was "scared" about making the post.

"It was a secret she'd kept from everyone except her family," BuzzFeed noted. Lindsay told the outlet "she's happy to 'break down that door' for future trans athletes." 


Chandalae Lanouette, director of the TopCats, told BuzzFeed that her "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." 

BuzzFeed wrote that "most" NFL cheerleading squads gravitate toward the "'all-American' look (read: white, thin, European standards of beauty), where the women are expected to perform like athletes but look like pinup models."

"I'm happy because I was able to break down that door and tell people, 'Hey, we are not just sexual beings,'" Lindsay told BuzzFeed. "We are actual human beings who want to better ourselves." 

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