But I'm a Cheerleader is a 1999 satirical romantic comedy film directed by Jamie Babbit and written by Brian Wayne Peterson. Natasha Lyonne stars as Megan Bloomfield, a high school cheerleader whose parents send her to a residential inpatient conversion therapy camp to cure her lesbianism. There Megan soon comes to embrace her sexual orientation, despite the therapy, and falls in love. The supporting cast includes Melanie Lynskey, Dante Basco, Eddie Cibrian, Clea DuVall, Cathy Moriarty, Katrina Phillips, RuPaul, Richard Moll, Mink Stole, Kip Pardue, Michelle Williams, and Bud Cort.
But I'm a Cheerleader was Babbit's first feature film. It was inspired by an article about conversion therapy and her childhood familiarity with rehabilitation programs. She used the story of a young woman finding her sexual identity to explore the social construction of gender roles and heteronormativity. The costume and set design of the film highlighted these themes using artificial textures in intense blues and pinks.
When it was initially rated as NC-17 by the MPAA, Babbit made cuts to allow it to be re-rated as R. When interviewed in the documentary film This Film Is Not Yet Rated Babbit criticized the MPAA for discriminating against films with gay content.
Many critics did not like the film, comparing it unfavorably with the films of John Waters and criticizing the colorful production design. Although the lead actors were praised for their performances, some of the characters were described as stereotypical.