- June 2022
The Carolina Panthers, the NFL team that plays in Charlotte, has pulled off something more surprising than the Statue of Liberty play.
The newest addition to the Panthers' cheerleading squad is a Black transgender woman.
I didn't expect to be writing a sentence like that for several more years. Oh me of little faith.
Justine Lindsay, 29, is the brave soul joining the Topcats, as the squad is known. She noted on her application that she's transgender, and Chandalae Lanouette, the Topcats' director, is the brave soul who chose her.
Lindsay, believed to be the NFL's first openly trans cheerleader, will be shaking her pom poms on the sidelines of a hyper-masculine sport in a southern city. Her presence could piss off everyone from KKK'ers to African American ministers to inside linebackers to retired cheerleaders.
If she has to dodge beer cans while performing her routines, I hope stadium security protects her, and I hope she sticks out the first rough months. Because the shock will wear off, and Panther fans will return to the pressing business of asking God to beat the Buccaneers.
- January 2022
There was a lot to like about Amy Schneider's long run on "Jeopardy."
She was openly transgender. She became the winningest woman in the history of the show. She confessed she founded her high school debate club largely so she could put it on her college applications.
"The best part for me has been being on TV as my true self," Schneider said in an interview. "Expressing myself, representing the entire community of trans people and . . . just being a smart, confident woman doing something super normal like being on 'Jeopardy!'"
I agree that the game show itself is super normal, super mainstream. But anyone who goes on it as a contestant and is able to, first, think, and second, convince her lips to say "Who is Benazir Bhutto?" isn't super normal. She's just super.
Washington Post columnist Monica Hesse wrote that Schneider "shared her whole self, and this was her tremendous, generous gift to America. She would not allow the country to think of her merely as a transgender woman or merely as a "Jeopardy!" champion. Instead, with little fanfare, she made sure the two identities were linked. To the viewing public of a country that still regularly dehumanizes transgender individuals — via humiliating bathroom bills, via harmful stereotypes, via disgraceful statistics related to homelessness, poverty, sexual assault — Schneider was relentlessly human."
So relentlessly human she has a cat named Meep.
My favorite part of the Schneider story might be that she was dethroned by a gay man. Two members of the queer community matched wits on America's televisions, and the whole scene was . . . super normal.
Again, if you consider normal a person who, under all that pressure, comes up with the only country in the world whose name, in English, ends with an "H." Rhone Talsma correctly answered Bangladesh.
I would've answered Swedenish.
- December 2021
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