If you conduct a Google search of the term “lesbian cheerleader,” you’ll come up with a lot of porn. This may explain why there have been so many gay women in short, pleated skirts bearing pom pons on television and film: It’s sexy.
But why lesbian cheerleaders? Let’s start with a brief history of cheerleading itself: Men created the group cheer as a fraternity pastime in 1898 and women started participating in the early 1920s because there were no other sports they could play at the time. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the sexual appeal became a huge part of the cheerleading image. That’s when the Dallas Cowboys first put their cheer team in scanty outfits.
The film industry began to take a cue from their popularity, and they couldn’t release sexy cheerleader-inspired films fast enough. Some were only sexy (The Cheerleaders, Revenge of the Cheerleaders, Satan’s Cheerleaders) and some were literally about sex (Debbie Does Dallas).
The sport enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in 2000, when Bring it On became a hit film. It earned $70 million dollars and spawned several sequels, inspiring young girls and teenagers to give the sport a go with their own school spirit squads.
So where do the lesbians come in?