Justine Lindsay made National Football League (NFL) history as the first openly transgender cheerleader for the league.
The 29-year-old Black transwoman first made the historic announcement in an Instagram post on March 30, saying that she was the newest member of the TopCats, the cheerleading squad of the Carolina Panthers.
“This is a moment I will never forget and I cannot wait to show you all what this girl has to bring,” Lindsay said in the post.
While there is no official record of NFL cheerleaders throughout history, it seems Lindsay is the first transgender to be an NFL cheerleader.
In a recent interview with Buzzfeed News, Lindsay said that she kept being transgender a secret from everyone except her family until she made the announcement post.
“I just felt like when I posted it, whatever reaction I get from everyone, it does not matter,” Lindsay said.
However, in an Instagram post on June 6, Lindsay revealed that she has been subjected to transphobic harassment since she made the announcement.
“Thank you to all my haters who think I’m bringing the organization down, clearly I don’t,” Lindsay wrote in the post.
“So what if I’m trans? I’m paving the way for those under me who are scared and afraid to take that step because it is not easy to do when you have ignorant people making comments that didn’t go through the process like the rest of us,” Lindsay further said.
Lindsay’s announcement comes as transwomen and girls face restrictions and bans in school sports across the United States.
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