The Carolina Panthers hired the first openly transgender cheerleader in NFL history in March but the news never gained traction until now, with Justine Lindsay holding her first interview.
Lindsay, 29, is the newest member of the Topcats, Carolina’s cheerleading squad. During an interview with BuzzFeed, Lindsay explained that this is a dream come true and not because she’s making history.
Justine Lindsay interview with BuzzFeed
Lindsay, who came out as transgender in an Instagram post announcing her cheerleading, told BuzzFeed she was afraid to post the news. To see also : I tried on my old cheerleading uniforms, including a 4th grade outfit; they all still fit, but no…. She says even her best friend didn’t realize she was transgender.
“I just felt like when I posted it, whatever reaction I got from everybody, it didn’t matter,” Lindsay said. “And then my phone blew up.”
Although there are no records of NFL cheerleaders, it’s easy to assume that Lindsay is the first transgender dancer in a league that has historically opposed progressive ideas. Lindsay admits she’s happy to “break down that door” for future trans athletes but says it’s not why she’s cheering.
“I’m happy because I was able to break down that door and tell people, ‘Hey, we’re not just sexual beings,'” Lindsay said. “‘We are actual people who want to improve ourselves.’ I felt why not tell the world, ‘Hey, listen, this is a great achievement.'”