NFL Welcomes Its First Transgender Cheerleader: 'I’m Changing the World'


NFL Welcomes Its First Transgender Cheerleader: 'I’m Changing the World'
NFL Welcomes Its First Transgender Cheerleader: 'I’m Changing the World' © Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

Justine Lindsay, a groundbreaking figure in the world of professional cheerleading, has completed her inaugural year with the Carolina TopCats, the esteemed cheer squad of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Lindsay holds the distinct honor of being the first individual to openly identify as transgender while performing on an NFL cheerleading team.

Lindsay shared her reflections on the profound impact her journey has had, not only on herself but also on those touched by her story. “Receiving messages, direct messages, on my phone from individuals expressing how my personal journey has inspired them to embrace a more supportive and understanding role as a parent is incredibly moving,” Lindsay shared with heartfelt sincerity.

“It’s a clear indication of the change unfolding in the world, and I’m at the heart of it”.

Inspirational Journey to NFL

The journey of this biologically male cheerleader, who identifies as female, to the NFL stage has been nothing short of inspirational.

Lindsay’s groundbreaking induction into the TopCats was publicly shared via her Instagram account in March 2022, instantly catapulting her story into the limelight. “Here I am, the newest member of the Carolina Panthers' TopCats Cheerleading team, and I proudly stand before you as the first transgender female to do so,” Lindsay proclaimed in her announcement post.

Lindsay, ever transparent, made it known on her application to the TopCats that she is transgender. Now, as she steps into her second season at 31, Lindsay’s passion for cheerleading remains unwavering. “I absolutely love it, and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world,” she declared.

Lindsay is not just a cheerleader; she is a storyteller, a trailblazer, and an advocate. “I have a story to tell, and it’s a story that can pave the way for the younger generation,” she emphasized. Embracing a philosophy of grace and resilience, Lindsay often finds strength in the words of former First Lady Michelle Obama: “When they go low, you go high”.

She elaborates, “In the face of criticism, my mission is to maintain my composure and to encourage others to listen, truly listen, to what I have to say”. Justine Lindsay is more than a cheerleader; she is a catalyst for change, setting the stage for a more inclusive and understanding future in professional sports.