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Meet Justine Lindsay: The NFL’s first openly transgender cheerleader

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Though she announced it on her Instagram account back in March, news of Justine Lindsay becoming the NFL’s first openly transgender cheerleader has gone viral now that it’s Pride Month.

Justine Lindsay is a 29-year-old black, trans woman, who will cheer for the Carolina Panthers “TopCats”, which makes her a part of two minority groups amongst NFL cheerleaders. Being the primary comes with some backlash, and Lindsay admitted that she was scared to post her announcement on social media. But since then, it’s been met with messages of support and good wishes. Not everyone seems to be so friendly after all. In one other post, Lindsay talked about receiving messages of transphobia as well. Not one to let it break her spirit, she said “thanks to all my haters” and embraced the role she plays in paving the best way for future trans athletes.

Meanwhile, in some states, Republican legislators are banning trans women and girls from participating in highschool and college sports, including a disturbing genital inspection for those suspected of being transgender. Lindsay’s hire will look to start out to finish transphobic laws like those within the US.

Black cheerleaders are a minority within the NFL as well. There’s a number of pressure to look a certain way in that role, and that way is generally straight hair and other typical Euro-centric looks. Lindsay, nonetheless, was relieved to search out out she’s allowed to maintain the bald look she has now. She saw her baldness as yet one more opportunity to “encourage other young girls who could also be insecure rocking their bald look”.

In an interview with Buzzfeed, Lindsay said that she is worked up to be breaking barriers. “I believe more people have to see this. It’s not because I would like recognition. It’s simply to make clear what’s occurring on the planet.”

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