Justine Lindsay, the NFL’s first openly trans cheerleader, is breaking barriers with the Carolina Panthers

CHARLOTTE, NC — Justine Lindsay, believed to be the NFL’s first openly transgender cheerleader, said she’s excited to “break down that door” and share her “huge success” as a member of the Carolina TopCats team Panthers.

In an Instagram post three months ago, Lindsay shared that she is a transgender woman and also announced that she would be joining the TopCats. She said during a recent interview with BuzzFeed News that her trans identity had previously been a secret to everyone but her family.

“This is huge,” Lindsay told BuzzFeed News in a report published Saturday. “I think more people need to see this. It’s not because I want recognition. It’s just to shine a light on what’s going on in the world.”

Lindsay, 29, is listed on the Panthers as an official member of the 2022 TopCats roster, which was posted on the team’s website in April. She told BuzzFeed News that she was “so scared” about her Instagram announcement in March at first, but now feels comfortable in her storied role with the TopCats.

“I’m happy because I was able to break down that door and tell people, ‘Hey, we’re not just sexual beings,'” Lindsay said. “We’re real human beings who want to better ourselves.” I thought, why not tell the world, ‘Hey, listen, this is a big hit.'”

On Monday, Lindsay acknowledged “negative energy” in another Instagram post.

TopCats director Chandalae Lanouette told BuzzFeed News that Lindsay identified as transgender on her application for the team, but also noted that Lindsay made the team because of her talent as an entertainer .

“My goal is to create a team of individuals who are absolutely 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 walk through the door first to get to this place ” Lanouette said.

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