Justine Lindsay Makes History as the NFL's First-Ever Openly Trans Cheerleader


History has been made as the Carolina Panthers hire the NFL’s first openly transgender cheerleader—Justine Lindsay.


Back in March, Lindsay, 29, publicly came out as trans, while simultaneously announcing the news of her joining the TopCats squad.

“I would like to thank the beautiful and talented dancers who supported me along the way alumni TopCats family and friends for your love and support. I would not have gotten to this moment in my life if it wasn’t for the support.”


In a recent interview with BuzzFeed, Lindsay revealed that she initially kept her gender identity a secret from the public, up until she shared the TopCats news via Instagram.


“I was so scared—there’s just some things you can’t post.”

Chandalae Lanouette, the TopCats director, also spoke to the outlet--revealing that although Lindsay did disclose she was trans on her application, her great talent is what secured her spot with the TopCats,


“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”


Justine Lindsay at tryouts for Carolina TopCats
Photo of Justine Lindsay by Gabby Hunter

And Lindsay is proud to break down these doors to help inspire other young girls.


“This is big, I think more people need to see this. It’s not because I want recognition. It’s just to shed light on what’s going on in the world.”

Lindsay recently took to Instagram to address the backlash surrounding her new position,


“Thank you to all my haters who think I’m bringing the organization down, clearly I don’t. The carolina panthers Organization is an excellent one, one that supports all people white, black , yellow trans, straight etc. at the end of the day myself and the other 29 members @topcats made the squad fair and square…….I will continue to be that pioneer I will continue to inspire and help my African American beautiful trans sisters until my last breath. So please mind your manners and understand that if you can’t say anything nice please keep it to yourself.”


Professional cheerleaders may be primarily known for their performance on the field—but more often that not, they also represent the team off the field and in their communities. Representation matters and this is a major win for the LGBTQ community!


Gaye Magazine would like to congratulate Justine on this historic achievement!