Words you don\u0027t expect to come from a cheerleader\u0027s mouth: \u0022I\u0027m a Yale Ph.D., and here I am counting pom-poms.\u0022 But they\u0027re commonplace among the members of Cheer New York; it\u0027s as standard as megaphones and backflips: The eight-year-old organization—one of a growing number of post-collegiate cheerleading teams—includes about 50 urban professionals in their twenties and thirties who yell, dance, and tumble not for school spirit but for charity. And, yes, most of these cheerleaders are male, most of them gay. \u0022People think, oh, gay cheerleaders, campiness, just like a Halloween costume,\u0022 founder and coach Felipe Hernández says. \u0022But we\u0027re real cheerleaders.\u0022 Indeed, the team performs at events all around New York—fund-raising walks, the New York City Marathon, and the Pride parade, to name a few—and they go at it with as much gusto as any cheer squad half their age. \u0022I mean, 13-year-old girls in Kentucky do it,\u0022 Hernández quips. \u0022It\u0027s not that hard.\u0022 And with only about a quarter of its members female, the group\u0027s guys are often the ones flying through the air and balancing atop teammates, a fact that makes Cheer NY a gender pioneer of sorts. \u0022Cheerleading,\u0022 Hernández says, \u0022is such a sexist sport now. But we\u0027re different.\u0022 Here\u0027s a look at a week in the wild, high-flying, wide-smiling world of Cheer NY, from practice to performance to final cheer.