- 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.
- September 2021
Over the summer, Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player to come out as gay.
So he was already making history as the first openly gay NFL player to appear in a regular-season game when he stepped on the field during "Monday Night Football." But in a Hollywood-esque turn of events, Nassib forced a fumble in overtime that led to his team's game-winning touchdown.
I think it must be said here and now that any athlete who comes out going forward won't be expected to be the hero of the next game. Announcing your orientation to the whole world is a scary affair. After you come out, you're a winner if you can simply remember which sport you play.
- June 2021
Bravo to NFL player Carl Nassib for coming out and donating 100K to The Trevor Project, which helps LGBTQ youth. He's 6'7". Calm down.
In a video from his home in Pennsylvania, Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib came out yesterday. He's the first active NFL player to come out as gay.
Boy, those of us who monitor LGBTQ firsts in sports have been waiting for this moment, when an active pro football player would get up the gumption to cross that macho line.
Touchdown. End-zone dance. We're going to Disney World.
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