The allure of the lesbian cheerleader

 
 

It took a a few more years for the cheerleading craze to grow large enough that lesbians became a bigger part of that landscape. In 2006 on the UPN series Veronica Mars, reality star Kristen Cavalleri and actress Miriam Korn played closeted cheerleaders Kylie and Marelna, who were being blackmailed by a fellow student. Someone found a love letter Kylie had written to Marlena and the taunting began. When Veronica (Kristen Bell) meets Kylie for the first time, she doesn’t understand why Kylie would be part of this whole mess.

“Sorry to blow your mind, Veronica, but I’m a lesbian,” Kylie says. Veronica tells her it’s “cool,” and Kylie says, "In college maybe — not in high school!" Kylie’s girlfriend Marlena endures a lot of slurs and is referred to as “Pep Squad Lez” in the halls.

Eventually Kylie decides to come out to the school on their in-house news program by saying, “Oh yeah, I’m gay, and Marlena is my girlfriend” and they spend another episode parading around the school hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, all doesn’t end well for our lesbian cheerleaders, as Kylie eventually gets in on the blackmailing and threatens to out another gay student if he doesn’t give her the money she’s demanding. Not the best visibility we could have hoped for.

In 2007, Heroes readied a lesbian cheerleader character named April, played by Lyndsy Fonseca. After hyping her up, though, April only appeared in the first episode of season 2, as Fonseca took another job on Desperate Housewives. In 2009, though, the show’s other cheerleader, Claire (Hayden Panettiere), experimented with her sexuality when she began a more-than-friends relationship with her college roommate (Madeline Zima). The Claire-Gretchen relationship received mixed reviews, as there never seemed to be a clear understanding of how Claire felt about her friend and the writers seemed to back off after giving the characters an initial interaction.

Other queer cheerleaders in pop culture include bisexual Paige on Degrassi and lesbian Spencer, for a short time, on South of Nowhere.

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