Carolina Panthers cheerleader Justine Lindsay is ready to make headlines as the first openly transgender cheerleader in the NFL. Lindsay announced her accomplishment in making the Carolina Panthers TopCats team earlier this year and simultaneously came out as transgender in an Instagram post.

The post read, “Cats Out the Bag you are looking at the newest member of the Carolina Panthers TopCats Cheerleader’s @topcats as the first Transgender female, I would like to thank the beautiful and talented dancers who supported me along the way … This is a moment I will never forget and I cannot wait to show you all what this girl has to bring. Thank you @topcats a dream come true.”

Fans of the Carolina Panthers and other teams alike have shown their tremendous support for Lindsay and congratulated her on achieving the feat. Fans have also warned her to block out any hateful noise or those questioning her talent and spot on the team.

Director of the TopCats, Chandale Lanouette, and the Carolina Panthers organization have said that Lindsay’s skills and talent are what helped her secure her spot on the team. “Members of the TopCats are hired based on their qualifications and abilities. Our organization is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate because of age, race, religion, color, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or national origin. We wish all the TopCats, including Justine Lindsay, an incredible season,” the Panthers said in a statement.

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As for Lindsay, she has continued to thank her supporters and the Panthers for the opportunity to represent the organization and also sent a message to those who have doubted her. “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.”

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