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Carolina Panthers TopCats Welcome NFL's First Trans Cheerleader

Carolina Panthers TopCats Welcome NFL's First Trans Cheerleader

Carolina Panthers TopCats Welcome NFL's First Trans Cheerleader

The talented and confident 29-year-old came out in the same Instagram post revealing she had been hired!

A newly hired dancer just became the first openly transgender cheerleader for the NFL.

Justine Lindsay took to Instagram last month to share some exciting news — she had auditioned to join the TopCats, the cheerleading squad backing the Carolina Panthers. In the same post, she also came out as trans.

It was a bold move, considering the 29-year-old wasn’t even out to her closest friends. The only people that knew were her family, and the people who reviewed her application for the TopCats.

“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 that spot,” TopCats director Chandalae Lanouette told Buzzfeed.

Coming out at such a pivotal time in her life was something Lindsay said scared her, but she ultimately decided that “whatever reaction I get from everyone, it does not matter.”

recent interview with Buzzfeed brought Lindsay and the community some much-need visibility, but it also resulted in the usual suspects of transphobic trolls wasting everyone’s time with their tired harassment. Lindsay kept her cool with her claws retracted, though, as she deftly and kindly shut them down. And the support from her friends, teammates, and allies in the public seems stronger than ever.

Lindsay also made a point to thank Lanouette in particular for “taking that leap of faith” in hiring her and called joining the TopCats a “dream come true.”

While no official record of NFL cheerleaders throughout time exists, this is believed to be the first time an openly trans cheerleader has been hired for one of the squads.

“This is big. I think more people need to see this,” Lindsay said. “It’s not because I want recognition. It’s just to shed light on what’s going on in the world.”

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