Journalism and Mass Communications, College of


Breaking Tradition

Date of this Version

Summer 7-26-2018

Document Type



The complete professional project can be viewed at


A multimedia documentary exploring how young gay men in Texas are breaking gender barriers for their chance to dance on their traditionally female-dominated high school drill teams.

© 2018 Shonda Tindall. A Graduate Studies Project for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln


When Gussie Nell Davis founded the first dance drill team in 1929, she changed the game of Texas football forever. Halftime was no longer just for the young men in the band; the young ladies now had their time to shine. As decades passed, the dance drill team only grew bigger. The high kicks got higher, the lipstick got brighter, and as Davis once said, “The skirts have gotten shorter and shorter and shorter.”

But, one thing has changed Davis probably would not have predicted. With the rise of LBGTQ rights activism, more young gay men have come forward in the last five years to tryout for female-dominated drill teams. Willing to take on hecklers and naysayers in the stands and elsewhere, these men are becoming the game-changers.