Carolina Panthers hire NFL’s first openly transgender cheerleader
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The Carolina Panthers TopCats cheerleading team has hired the NFL’s first openly transgender cheerleader. Justine Lindsay announced on Instagram she made the team, calling it a “dream come true.”
“Cats Out the Bag you are looking at the newest member of the Carolina Panthers TopCats Cheerleader’s @topcats as the first Transgender female,” she wrote on Instagram after making the team. She thanked fellow cheerleaders and her coach for the support.
“This is a moment I will never forget and I cannot wait to show you all what this girl has to bring,” Lindsay wrote.
However, on Monday, after BuzzFeed published an article on Lindsay, she took to Instagram again to address transphobic hate she has received.
“Thank you to all my haters who think I’m bringing the organization down, clearly I don’t,” she said. “The carolina panthers Organization is an excellent one, one that supports all people white, black , yellow trans, straight etc. at the end of the day myself and the other 29 members @topcats made the squad fair and square.”
Lindsay said she is paving the way for others who “are scared and afraid to take that step because it is not easy to do when you have ignorant people making comments that didn’t go through the process like the rest of us.”
“I will continue to be that pioneer I will continue to inspire and help my African American beautiful trans sisters until my last breath,” she wrote. “So please mind your manners and understand that if you can’t say anything nice please keep it to yourself.”
In her first interview since joining the team, Lindsay told BuzzFeed she was “so scared” to share the news on Instagram.
“There’s just some things you can’t post,” she said. “I just felt like when I posted it, whatever reaction I get from everyone, it does not matter. And then my phone started blowing up.”
Lindsay said she wants people to understand the significance of her joining the team.
“This is big,” she said. “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.”