CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A Carolina Panthers cheerleader has made history.
Justine Lindsay announced she will be joining the Panthers’ TopCats cheerleading squad, which would seemingly make her the first openly transgender cheerleader. Lindsay initially posted about her accomplishment in March.
She told BuzzFeed News on Saturday she was excited to be able to break barriers.
"I’m happy because I was able to break down that door and tell people, ‘Hey, we are not just sexual beings. We are actual human beings who want to better ourselves.’ I felt like, Why not tell the world: 'Hey, listen, this is a great accomplishment,’" she told the outlet.
Once the news hit social media, Lindsay clapped back at some of the negative comments she received in an Instagram post.
"Thank you to all my haters who think I’m bringing the organization down, clearly I don’t. 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," she wrote.
"So what I’m paving the way for those under me 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. So please mind your manners and understand that if you can’t say anything nice please keep it to yourself."
Charlotte Lanouette, the director of Carolina’s squad, told BuzzFeed News it was Lindsay’s talent that landed her on the team.
"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.