Justine Lindsay of the Carolina Panthers, who is the NFL’s first openly transgender cheerleader

Justine Simone Lindsay/Instagram Justine Lindsay

Justine Lindsay is ready for the Carolina Panthers to have a strong season — and for football fans to see a Black transgender woman shine.

Back in March, Lindsay first announced that she had been signed to the Carolina Panthers TopCats “as the first Transgender woman.”

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

In a new interview with BuzzFeed News, Lindsay, 29, said no one outside her family knew she was transgender — even her best friend — until she shared the TopCats news. She made the decision knowing that “whatever reaction I get from everyone, it doesn’t matter.”

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Lindsay, who appears to be the first openly transgender NFL cheerleader, told BuzzFeed, “And then my phone started blowing up.”

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The squad’s director, Chandalae Lanouette, told BuzzFeed that Lindsay had disclosed that she is transgender on her application, but that all that mattered when making the team was the cheerleader’s incredible talent.

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“My goal is to create a team of individuals who are absolute fire on the field but who are incredible human beings in the locker room, good friends, good people, and at the end of the day, you have to get through the door first to get to that place,” said Lanouette.

For more on Justine Lindsay, listen below to our PEOPLE Every Day podcast.

Now, Lindsay said in the interview that she is glad to be breaking down “that door” for future transgender athletes.

“This is great,” she told the outlet. “I think more people want to see this. It’s not because I want recognition. It’s just to shed light on what’s happening in the world.”

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