The Carolina Panthers are officially the first NFL team to hire an openly transgender female cheerleader.
29-year-old Justine Simone Lindsay announced she was trans and that she had made the Panthers’ Topcats cheerleading squad in the same Instagram post.
“Cats Out the Bag you are looking at the newest member of the Carolina Panthers TopCats Cheerleader’s @topcats as the first Transgender female,” 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 was so scared,” Lindsay told BuzzFeed News about posting the Instagram in her first interview since joining the team. “There’s just some things you can’t post.”
“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.