Last Updated on June 7, 2022
The Carolina Panthers cheerleading squad will employ the NFL’s first transgender cheerleader. In March, the Panthers’ cheer squad, the TopCats, hired Justine Lindsay. Lindsay mentioned this fact on the application to join the TopCats, and then posted about joining the squad as a transgender woman on Instagram. It is only recently that Buzzfeed interviewed Lindsay about this story.
On the original Instagram post after being hired by the TopCats, Lindsay shared the news with followers. “Cats Out the Bag you are looking at the newest member of the Carolina Panthers TopCats Cheerleader’s @topcats as the first Transgender female…,” Lindsay wrote.
Lindsay then thanked TopCats director Chandalae Lanouette for making the hire and taking a “leap of faith.”
“This is a moment I will never forget and I cannot wait to show you all what this girl has to bring”, Lindsay concluded.
Lanouette told reporters that Lindsay’s status as a transgender person had nothing to do with the hiring decision. “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.
Some people have speculated that the decision to add the first open transgender cheerleader to the squad may have been done cynically, such as to promote a far-left political agenda. Based on what professional sports teams and leagues have signaled in recent years, this belief has some credence.
The NFL has embraced social justice and woke politics since the Colin Kaepernick kneeling situation in 2016, which many have criticized the league for mishandling. There have been some politically-fueled decisions made by the NFL in recent years. Such controversies came from the overt Black Lives Matter-friendly messaging at stadiums as well as on many players’ helmets, as well as the “Football is gay” message shared by the NFL on social media.
If you love this game, you are welcome here. Football is for all. Football is for everyone.
The NFL stands by the LGBTQ+ community today and every day.
— NFL (@NFL) June 28, 2021