When the 2022 NFL season officially begins in September, the professional football league will welcome its first transgender cheerleader.
In a recent post on Instagram, Justine Lindsay, a 29-year-old Black trans woman, announced that she would be joining the Carolina Panthers cheerleading squad, the TopCats. BuzzFeed first reported the news over the weekend.
“Cats Out the Bag you are looking at the newest member of the Carolina Panthers TopCats … the first Transgender female,” Lindsay wrote in a March 30 Instagram post. “This is a moment I will never forget and I can’t wait to show you all this girl has to offer.”
However, in a post on Monday, Lindsay revealed that she had been subjected to transphobic harassment since her ban was announced.
“Thanks to my haters who think I’m bringing the organization down, obviously I’m not. The carolina panthers organization is a great organization that supports everyone,” she wrote.
She added that she hopes to “pave the way for those below me who are scared and afraid to take that step because it’s not easy to do when ignorant people are making comments.”
Lindsay’s historic announcement comes as transgender athletes in the US, particularly transgender women and girls, face restrictions and bans from school sports. Her hiring also comes as Black female cheerleaders continue to be underrepresented in the field. Lindsay told BuzzFeed News that she is happy to represent Black trans women in sports.
“This is big,” she said. “I think more people need to see this. Not that I need recognition. It’s just to shine a light on what’s going on in the world.”
The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization, said Lindsay’s NFL recruitment is significant since an April report found that less than 1 in 3 adults knew a transgender person. The organization said this could give LGBTQ youth more hope.
“Lindsay’s story can inspire much more than victory,” Preston Mitchum, director of advocacy and government affairs at The Trevor Project, said in an email to NBC News. “She can also set the stage for greater acceptance within our society and provide a model of possibility for young people looking at what their future might look like.”
Mitchum added that Lindsay’s visibility comes amid increased attacks on the trans community.
“It’s encouraging to see someone like Justine Lindsay being her true self in a place like the NFL, where it holds such a powerful position in our culture,” Mitchum said. “This kind of representation is to be commended, especially at a time when transgender and non-binary young people are being thrust into the center of the political arena – and at a time when being visible can also mean harm. “
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, TopCats director Chandalae Lanouette said she is proud of Lindsay, adding that the team appreciates her talent and spirit on and off the field.
“My goal is to create a team of individuals that are absolutely fire on the field but are incredible people in the locker room, good friends, good people, and at the end of the day, you have to walk through the door first to go to that spot,” Lanouette told the outlet.
A spokesperson for the Carolina Panthers said members of the TopCats are hired based on their qualifications and abilities.
“Our organization is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, color, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or national origin,” wrote Ryan Anderson, director of communications for the Carolina Panthers, in email to NBC News. We wish all the TopCats, including Justine Lindsay, an incredible season.”
As Lindsay continues to break barriers in the sport, she said she hopes to use her voice to uplift black trans women and shut down online trolls.
“I will continue to be that pioneer I will continue to inspire and help my beautiful African American sisters until my last breath,” she wrote in the Instagram post on Monday. “So remember your manners and understand that if you can’t say anything nice please keep it to yourself.”
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Tat Bellamy-Walker is the desk assistant for NBC News’ diversity vertical.
Could a female be in the NFL?
There are no rules that say a girl can’t play when it comes to the NFL. Even though there are no girl players in the NFL since 2022, you will find plenty of women’s teams on the sidelines. Read also : PHOTOS: Atlanta Falcons rally falls short at Los Angeles Rams. Not only that, but women are also entering the NFL as referees, starting in 2019 with Sarah Thomas.
How many girls play in the NFL? The overall percentage of women in the NFL front office was a record 41.3% in 2022 with 319 women holding various positions.
Which NFL team has a female player? Kansas City Chiefs Make History; Register First Female Player in NFL | Kansas city chiefs, Kansas city, black love quotes.
Has there ever been a male cheerleader?
At least 11 NFL teams have men on their cheer squads, according to an NYU Journalism reporter, so male cheerleaders are represented in just over a third of the league. Read also : COLUMN: Onslow women living their dream as NFL cheerleaders.
Who was the first male cheerleader? Kyle Tanguay is the first man to compliment Philly football in 35 years. Cheerleading used to be a man’s sport. When the stunt acts were introduced in the 1800s as entertainment during games, women were banned from the squads.
Who has a male cheerleader in the NFL? The Buccaneers and Eagles employed a male jersey; the Patriots added two.
Is there such thing as a male cheerleader?
Cheerleading was not primarily a women’s sport until the 1950s. Today there are more than three thousand high school and college cheerleaders in the United States. To see also : Taranaki’s cheerleading team secure the national title. 97% of cheerleaders are women; however, approximately 50% of collegiate cheerleaders are male.
Is cheerleading a feminine sport? Although women could participate in cheering in the 1920s, the transition from cheer as a masculine activity to becoming a feminine one did not occur until the 1940s.
Can a male cheerleader be a flyer? Truth: “she” or “her” is commonly referred to flyers in the cheer world because traditionally it’s girls you’ll see flying, but, from time to time, however, a classy male flyer will enter the scene.