NFL's First Openly Trans Cheerleader Justine Lindsay Receives More Love Than Hate In Rookie Year

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It’s been a few months since Justine Lindsay made history as the NFL’s first openly trans cheerleader and thankfully, her addition to the Carolina Panthers’ TopCats hasn’t caused as much controversy as anticipated, Outsports reports.

The cheerleader took to Instagram back in March to celebrate and announce her joining the Panthers.

“Cats Out the Bag you are looking at the newest member of the Carolina Panthers TopCats Cheerleader’s @topcats as the first Transgender female,” she wrote.

Later, she thanked “the beautiful and talented dancers,” and alumni TopCats family and friends, who showed her love and support.

“I would not have gotten to this moment in my life if it wasn’t for the support,” Lindsay added.

While there are a few haters in the comments, the majority of messages are congratulatory and positive.

“Congratulations and be who you were born to be!! Enjoy life and have fun!!” one Instagram user wrote.

“So proud of you,” added another.

Lindsay has posted several pictures of her doing her thing on the field with her fellow TopCats since then, each post receiving less hate and more love than the previous one.

The overflow of support must be a major relief for the cheerleader, who told BuzzFeed back in June that she was terrified about sharing her joining the TopCats with the world.

“I was so scared,” she said. “There’s just some things you can’t post.”

TopCat’s director, Chandalae Lanouette, has had Lindsay’s back from the jump. She made it clear that, while the team acknowledges and respects her gender identity, that’s not what secured her spot on the team – her undeniable talent did.

“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.

The Carolina cheerleading team, and the public’s response to Lindsay in her rookie year, mark an important change in the NFL. And maybe even our country.

The TopCats are one of the few gender-inclusive teams in the NFL and have paved the way for other cheer teams, like those for the Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, and Atlanta Falcons, to evolve. The Topcats also welcomed two men, Tre Booker and Chris Crawford, to the cheer team.

Hopefully, this change radiates throughout the league and nation.