But I'm a Cheerleader
But I'm a Cheerleader is a 1999 comedy lampooning the idea of homosexual reform camps with the story of Megan, a God-fearing cheerleader who has never paid her homosexual tendencies any thought until being sent to the True Directions camp. While there, she admits the homosexuality that everyone but her had apparently seen, and falls in love with another of the True Directions members, Graham.
The film carved out an unusual niche for itself as what many have identified as a Lighter and Softer version of a John Waters film, combining high camp, dark political comedy and good-natured romanticism under one improbably broad yet tantalizingly candy-colored roof.
Not to be confused with But I'm a Cat Person.
- Affably Evil: Cathy Morningside.
- Butch Lesbian: Subverted quite brilliantly.
- Camp Gay: Andre. Although almost every single gay male is some amount of camp, except Larry, one of the 'ex-ex-gay' characters. Arguably the point is to demonstrate just how worthless the camp is. Also because it's funny.
- Camp Straight: Jan was just assumed to be lesbian because she has such a strong butch appearance, but she actually likes boys. She leaves the camp when she discovers this.
- Cast Full of Gay
- The Cheerleader: Averted.
- Cure Your Gays. The plot of the film, in fact. It doesn't succeed.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Megan is explicitly shown doing this, with her hand just out of frame. It can be inferred that Sinead does this too, but differently (the campers are given small tazers that emit small shocks, and you're supposed to shock yourself if you ever have 'impure thoughts.' When Sinead introduced herself, she said she liked pain, and she shocks herself on purpose.)
- Everything's Better with Rainbows: Dolph's pajamas are a sight to behold.
- Gay Bar
- Girls with Moustaches: Jan has a moustache.
- Homoerotic Dream
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Megan and a few of the others. Averted by Graham.
- IKEA Erotica
Mary: "When it's time for lovemaking, Dan kisses Sue, and touches her breast. Women often find this sensation pleasurable."
- "Foreplay is for sissies! Real men go in, unload, and pull out!"
- Irony: If Megan's parents hadn't sent her to the camp, she likely would've gotten married to a man, had children, either never realising her lesbianism due to the justifications she already had in place or eventually realising it but deciding to continue presenting as heterosexual and having a completely miserable life. Because they wanted that life for her, they sent her there, and instead, she thankfully emerged as a happy woman who embraced her lesbianism and who would hopefully have a truly fulfilling life
- Lipstick Lesbian: Megan. In the credits they actually have Julie Delpie listed as "Lipstick Lesbian" (the girl at the gay bar.)
- Manly Gay: Rock.
- Meganekko: Melanie Lynskey as Hilary.
- Playing Against Type:
- The world's most famous drag queen, RuPaul, appears not only as a man, but also as an ex-gay counselor.
- Richard Moll, who normally plays very scary dudes, is a gruff-but-lovable burly bear.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Taken to hilarious extremes, as basically everything is that color for the boys and girls. This includes painting the windows of a car blue.
- Refuge in Audacity: The film takes ex-gay camps and makes them look as fluffy and inane as possible while playing up every gay stereotype in American culture to ensure that viewers get the message.
- Schoolgirl Lesbians
- Shout-Out: The whole film feels a lot like a John Waters movie, and indeed Mink Stole, a member of a group of stock actors Waters usually uses in his films, plays the main character's mother.
- Strawman Political: The ex-gay counselors.
- Invisible to Gaydar: Larry, although his brief fight with his boyfriend had him acting less than manly. Otherwise, he almost looks like a survivalist. Dolph is a smaller example of one, being a varsity wrestler.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Graham and Megan.
- Transparent Closet: Megan is the most prominent. Notably, every character at the camp except for the extremely butch girl is written to be in one to leave no doubt that the camp is not working.
- Trial Balloon Question