NFL’s First Openly Trans Cheerleader Justine Lindsay Receives More Love Than Hate In Rookie Year

It’s been a few months since Justine Lindsay made history as the NFL’s first openly trans cheerleader, and thankfully, her addition to the Carolina Panthers’ TopCats hasn’t caused as much controversy as expected, Outsports reports.

Back in March, the fan took to Instagram to celebrate and announce that she had joined the Panthers.

“Cats Out the Bag looks at the newest member of the Carolina Panthers TopCats Cheerleader @topcats as the first transgender female,” she wrote.

She later thanked the “beautiful and talented dancers”, family and friends of the former TopCats, who showed her love and support.

“I wouldn’t have gotten to this point in my life if it wasn’t for the support,” Lindsay added.

Although there are few haters in the comments, most of the messages are congratulatory and positive.

“Congratulations and be what you were born to be!! Enjoy life and have fun!!” wrote one Instagram user.

“I’m so proud of you,” added another.

Lindsey has since posted several pictures of herself doing her thing on the field with her fellow TopCats, and each post gets less hate and more love than the last.

The outpouring of support must be a huge relief for the cheerleader, who told BuzzFeed back in June that she was terrified to join the TopCats with the world.

“I was so scared,” she said. “There are some things you cannot publish.”

TopCat director Chandalae Lanouette held Lindsay’s back from the jump. She made it clear that while the team recognizes and respects her gender identity, that’s not what secured her a place on the team – her undeniable talent is.

“My goal is to create a team of individuals who 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 place,” Lanouette said.

Carolina’s cheerleading squad, and the public’s reaction to Lindsay in her rookie year, marks an important shift in the NFL. And maybe even our country.

The TopCats are one of the few gender-inclusive teams in the NFL and have paved the way for the development of other cheerleading teams, such as those for the Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons. The Topcats also welcomed two men, Tre Booker and Chris Crawford, to the cheerleading squad.

Hopefully this change will radiate throughout the league and the nation.

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