The NFL has its first transgender cheerleader, and she is fighting back against new legislation passed in her home state that bans transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports. Here’s the whole story.
NFL’s First Transgender Cheerleader
The Carolina Panthers’ TopCats cheer squad welcomed the NFL’s first transgender cheerleader onto their team in 2022. Justine Lindsay is a 30-year-old transgender female who enjoys cheering on the Carolina Panthers football team.
Socially Awkward Child
Lindsay described herself as “socially awkward” as a child and said she often struggled to fit in with her peers.
During her teenage years, Lindsay discovered how to cope with her anxiety and depression through dancing.
Life as a Woman
After graduating from North Carolina State University, Lindsay began her “life as a woman” and decided to try out for the TopCats cheer squad because she missed dancing.
“Cats Out the Bag”
Justine Lindsay made the squad and announced it in a post on Instagram, saying, “Cats Out the Bag.”
She posted a picture of herself in a Carolina Panthers cheer outfit. She told her followers, “You are looking at the newest member of the Carolina Panthers TopCats” cheer squad.
A Moment She Will Never Forget
Lindsay also said she was the “first transgender female” to cheer for the NFL. She said making the squad was a “moment [she] will never forget,” and she couldn’t wait to show everyone “what this girl has to bring.”
Support and Backlash
In the comments on her Instagram post, Lindsay received support and backlash. One person called her a “courageous, fierce role model,” while others found the situation “sad and disturbing.”
North Carolina recently passed legislation that “prohibits male students from playing on… athletics teams designated for females, women, or girls.” The new law applies to “middle school, high school, [and] collegiate” sports.
Fairness in Women’s Sports Act
House Bill 574, also known as the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, also requires “a student’s sex to be recognized solely based on reproductive biology and genetics at birth” when participating in athletics.
“Saddens” Lindsay to See It
Lindsay was unhappy to see the new legislation passed in her home state. In an interview with Elle Magazine, Lindsay said, “I will fight this until I can’t fight anymore.”
When asked how she felt about the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, she said, “It saddens me to see it.”
Looking Out for the Younger Generation
Lindsay said her role as the NFL’s first transgender cheerleader is “setting things up for the younger generation.”
States Ban Transgender Athletes From Competing in Sports
Transgender females participating in women’s sports is a heavily debated subject.
Twenty-three states have passed laws restricting transgender women from competing against biological females in sports.
Keep Men Out
One person online said, “Keep men out of women’s sports, period.” Another woman said she would “fight” to keep her daughters from “having to compete against biological men in sports.”
Unfair Physical Advantages
One commenter didn’t see anything “bad” about the new legislation passed in North Carolina, saying, “Men biologically have very unfair physical advantages over women.”
Many of the other comments were negative towards Lindsay.
When she first announced her spot on the cheer squad, critics questioned, “Are they going to put her in a dress? Are they going to put her in pants?”
Unfortunately, Lindsay said that cyber bullies and online “trolls” are something she has to deal with. Lindsay said she wants to “change the narrative for [her] trans sisters and brothers.”
She wants everyone to “go for it” if they have a goal.
New Fans of Lindsay
One woman online recently learned about Lindsay’s story after watching a Monday Night Football game.
She said she was “SO happy to learn about [Lindsay]” and included the hashtag “#TransRightsAreHumanRights.”
No One Is Going to Stop This Show
According to Lindsay, one thing is for sure, “No one is going to stop this show.”
The post Trailblazing Transgender Cheerleader Joins NFL Amid Debate Over Fairness in Women’s Sports first appeared on Back Edge News.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / New Africa. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.