Cheerleaders Having Lesbian Sex? Now That’s News!

Renee Thomas and Angela Keathley There are several important issues at stake for gays and lesbians in America this week, as churches continue to defrock or penalize gay and lesbian clergy, the Supreme Court rules on whether transgender employees can make discrimination claims, and voters in several states decide whether to grant or deny gays and lesbians basic civil rights.

But who cares about all that boring stuff, when there’s real news happening?

I’m referring, of course, to the news the mainstream media can’t seem to get enough of: the NFL cheerleaders busted this weekend for having lesbian sex.

Technically, the two Carolina Panther cheerleaders–Renee Thomas, 20, of Pittsboro, N.C., and Angela Keathley, 26, of Belmont, N.C.–were arrested last weekend not for allegedly having sex with each other, but for doing it in a bathroom stall at a bar, then punching one of several complaining patrons waiting to use the restroom, and resisting arrest for disorderly conduct and assault. All while very, very drunk.

Both women spent the night in jail, and were released on bail the next day–but not before Thomas had passed herself off to police as another cheerleader, Kristin Owen, whose ID she had borrowed in order to get into the nightclub while Owen was out of the state at a wedding. Now in addition to assault, Thomas faces charges of giving a false name and causing harm to another a third-degree felony punishable by probation or a jail term of 1 to 5 years.

Both cheerleaders were kicked off the Carolina Panthers cheerleading squad Monday for violating a signed code that bans conduct embarrassing to the team or organization (also known as the “don’t get caught having lesbian sex in public” code).

Lesbian sex, cheerleaders, and cops? This is manna from heaven to the mainstream news outlets, who suddenly have license to write about a topic they would normally never get past their editors. As Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy told the Florida’s St. Petersburg Times, “Alcohol, sex and cheerleaders are apparently the ingredients for a hot story…because I am getting flooded with calls.”

“Panthers cheerleaders arrested in bar sex incident”, proclaims CNN, and “Cheerleaders reportedly had sex in stalls”, screams the headline of MSNBC’s article about the incident, which is accompanied by a link to a video of the two women leaving the courthouse, with the helpful subtitle “Too Much Cheer?”

Others have employed more creative headlines, like “Cheerleaders Gone Wild!” (San Jose Mercury News), “Frisky cheerleaders canned” (Boston Herald), and my personal favorite, “Be Aggressive! B-e Aggressive!” (Seattle PI).