Carolina Panthers' Justine Lindsay on Being the NFL's First Openly Transgender Cheerleader

·2 min read
Justine Simone Lindsay
Justine Simone Lindsay

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'd been signed to the Carolina Panthers TopCats "as the first Transgender female."

At the time, Lindsay wrote, "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 new interview with BuzzFeed News, Lindsay, 29, said that no one outside of 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 does not matter."

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Lindsay, who seems to be the first openly transgender NFL cheerleader, recounted to 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 forming the team was the cheerleader's incredible talent.

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"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," Lanouette said.

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Now, Lindsay said in the interview that she's glad to be breaking "down that door" for future transgender athletes.

"This is big," she told the outlet. "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."