Synopsis and plot of the film

But I’m a cheerleader, Megan is a normal, all-American cheerleader. She is dating the captain of the football team, who is the perfect guy. However, her friends and family find it strange that she doesn’t like to kiss her boyfriend, that she has posters of girls in her locker, and that she likes to listen to Melissa Ethridge. They all suspect that Megan is the worst thing you can be: a lesbian! After the intervention, her concerned parents send her to a gay camp, which opens Megan’s eyes to a whole new world.

“But I’m a cheerleader,” the film synopsis reads.

The following is a summary of the spoilers.

But I'm a Cheerleader (2000) Megan Bloomfield (Natasha Lyonne) is a seventeen-year-old high school student who has a crush on her boyfriend Jared (Brandt Wille). But Jared is a bad kisser and Megan hates it when he kisses her. She loves watching her cheerleader friends and wouldn’t be offended if they tried to kiss him. Because Megan has pictures of women in her locker, is a vegetarian, loves Melissa Etheridge and has flowers on her pillows, family and friends suspect Megan is a lesbian. They set up an intervention through True Directions, which sends a former homosexual named Mike (RuPaul Charles) to oversee the meeting.

Megan’s ultra-religious parents, Peter and Nancy (Bud Cort and Mink Stole), then take her to True Directions, a heterosexual camp that trains its “confused” campers through a five-step program. Once there, Megan meets the camp’s strict founder, Mary Brown (Cathy Moriarty), and her supposedly straight son, Rock (Eddie Cibrian). Mary asks one of the campers, Hilary (Melanie Lynskey), to show Megan around and set her up.

Step 1: Admit that you are gay.

For their first meeting, they put Megan in a secluded chair while all the tourists form a semicircle around her. Ian (Katrina Phillips) is a softball player and gay. Sinead (Catherine Towne) loves pain and is a lesbian. Joel (Joel Michaeli) is Jewish and gay. Graham (Clea DuVall) likes girls and is gay. André (Douglas Spain) is an actor/dancer/homosexual. Dolph (Dante Basco) is a gay wrestler on a sports team. Clayton Dunn (Kip Pardue) works in retail and is gay. Hilary, whom we have already met, is also gay.

It’s time to tell Megan, but she says she’s not a lesbian, everyone thinks she is. She talks about the problems in her speech, and others help her realize that maybe the other girls don’t see her as she does. Megan has an epiphany: she is a lesbian.

Step 2: Restore your gender identity

The next day the campers split up to learn the “proper” role patterns. Maria takes the girls inside and teaches them how to clean, vacuum, paint their nails and prepare for the role of the bride. Mike takes the boys outside and teaches them how to drive a car, chop wood and kill.

The group returns to discuss the cause of their homosexuality. All except Megan. She doesn’t know what they are talking about. Mary then tells everyone to find a friend to hang out with for the rest of the program. Everyone quickly picks someone except Megan and Graham, who are both strangers to the camp. They end up together.

Step 3: Family Therapy

Now we go to family therapy where all the parents of the campers get together for the day. The kids talk about why they are gay. Megan thinks the cause of her homosexuality is that her father, Peter, has been unemployed for nine months and her mother, Nancy, has taken on male duties in the house. Mary quickly agrees that this is her main reason. We also learn that Graham’s father is a rich bastard who says he will not only disown her, but also trust her if she fails. Then he comes in as a caring father.

After the meeting, the parents leave and everyone except Mary takes a break outside. Mike watches Rock do his seduction work in the backyard. (They seem to struggle with their sexuality more than the campers.) Megan and Graham begin to bond and fall in love.

As Andre and Hilary talk, someone throws a paper airplane at him. It is a mysterious flyer that says, “There is another way out. Explore your alternatives! Live free! Love freedom! See you at the front door! Midnight this Saturday!”

Later that night, a horny Megan goes to Mary’s office to masturbate. Still in the room, Dolph and Clayton are about to have sex. When Mary notices them, she screams. Mike catches the boys in the act and brings them to Mary. She kicks Dolph out of camp for starting it, and Clayton literally sits in the doghouse while Mary locks him up for a few days.

Step 4: Exposure to the opposite sex

Mary shows the campers in a slide show how they are expected to live normal heterosexual lives and play traditional roles. But in the dimly lit room, Graham, who is sitting next to Megan, begins to stroke her hand. Although Megan does not object, she seems embarrassed by the fact that she appreciates Graham’s touch. We see a montage of girls doing traditional feminine things; Graham painting Megan’s toenails, two trying to change the baby’s diaper, Mary teaching the girls how to sit like real ladies, scrubbing the floor and washing the dishes. This doesn’t stop Megan and Graham from falling in love.

It’s Saturday night! It turns out that the flyer André picked up belongs to two of Mary’s former gay campers, Larry (Richard Moll) and Lloyd (Wesley Mann). They disagree with Mary’s methods and want the kids to know that there is nothing wrong with being gay.

They take Megan, Graham, Sinead, Ian and Andre to a local gay bar called Cocksuckers. While Andre sets the dance floor on fire, Megan reluctantly dances with a lesbian wearing lipstick (Julie Delpy). Graham grabs Sinead and dances with her. They dance too close for Megan’s comfort, and she becomes very jealous. Annoyed, she runs out the back door. Graham follows her and they both show that they have feelings for each other. They start kissing and their friendship turns into a real romance.

The next day, Mike organizes a group meeting with the campers. Jen reveals that she is not really a lesbian. She likes boys, but she is not a girl. Everyone else decides she is a lesbian, she is not. She leaves the camp and walks out of the room. Mike says she is in serious denial.

Meanwhile, Mary cleans the girl’s room and finds a matchbook labeled “cocksuckers.” She confronts everyone, especially Graham, for finding the matchbook under her bed. Instead, Graham distracts her from the truth when he tells her she has her own ad. She has a crush on Joel. Mary is satisfied. Joel is satisfied. Megan is a little confused.

Mary takes Megan’s parents to a meeting about a trip to the Hoosiers. They tell Megan that she cannot come home if she does not finish school because they cannot let her live an unhealthy life under their roof. Nancy goes on to say that Megan would choose to eliminate them from her life, not the other way around. Her father is glad they got through it and ends the conversation.

Faced with this inconvenience, Mary gathers everyone and has them set up a lookout in front of Larry and Lloyd’s house. They shout “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” over and over again. When a gay boy enters their house, he recognizes Graham and yells that he saw them last night. To protect himself, Graham throws a rock at him for seeing him kiss Megan. Larry and Lloyd then yell at Mary before leaving.

As a final test, we have another montage where everyone plays their traditional role. If someone fails, Marie kicks them out and they can’t move on to step 5. Everyone passes except Andre, who is told to pack his bags. There is cake in the kitchen if he wants it. Everyone else has to rest for the sex simulation.

That night, Megan and Graham made love secretly. But in the morning, Megan didn’t wake up and discover that Mary had caught her. At this point, Megan doesn’t regret being a lesbian and she doesn’t want to play with Mary. She kicks Megan out of True Directions. Graham’s parents are with Mary, urging her to finish camp and graduate. Not wanting to be cut off, she agrees to continue, even if it costs her Megan.

Now homeless, Megan goes to Larry and Lloyd for the night. There she finds Dolph with them as he gets back on his feet.

Step 5: A sexual lifestyle

Now all the other children are dressed in flesh-colored spandex with fig leaves on their parts. The girls have a flower on them. Mary taps them (Clayton is finally out of the doghouse) with the opposite sex, and Graham gets rock. They have to feign heterosexual intercourse without foreplay, because “foreplay is for wimps.” Real men come in, unload, and leave.”

That evening at the Cockuckers, Megan and Dolph decided to bring Graham and Clayton back for True Directions’ graduation tomorrow.

Graduation Ceremony

As the rest of the campers prepare for the outdoor ceremony, Megan and Dolph arrive in a truck dressed in camouflage uniform to rescue Clayton and Graham. The graduates arrive and walk down the center aisle one by one, like a bride on her wedding day, while the parents of everyone present sit beside them. Dolph appears behind Clayton and runs off with him. Megan grabs Graham as she arrives at the altar and tries to make her run away with him. But Graham is still terrified of his father and says he can’t leave.

Megan doesn’t give up easily. She returns to the truck alone, pulls a cheerleader costume from her bag and puts it on. During Mary’s thank you speech, Megan interrupts her by cheering her on and declaring her love for Graham. Mary chases Megan away and runs back to the truck, where Dolph and Clayton are waiting for her in the cab. When she tells them to leave, Graham runs off and jumps into the back seat with Megan. The two kiss passionately as the truck drives away.

Megan’s parents attend a PFLAG meeting, while Peter shows his support for his daughter and her homosexuality.

More information about the film

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