Marking Lesbian Visibility Week, cast members of The L Word and its Generation Q spin-off were invited to speak at the White House Press Briefing on Tuesday, April 25. Actors Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey and Katherine Moenning, along with the show’s Co-Creator, Writer and Executive Producer Ilene Chaiken, were hosted by Karine Jean-Pierre, a trailblazing lesbian who made history as the first openly queer Press Secretary for the President of the United States.
Welcoming the iconic group, Jean-Pierre stated the importance of LGBTQ+ representation in media, explaining: “Even though I grew up in one of the most diverse cities in the world…as a young queer woman of color, I felt alone and sometimes invisible.
“For so many people in our community, The L Word’s impact cannot be understated. Being able to see diverse narratives that reflect our lives is incredibly important.
“It is important that young people see characters on television and in the books who they can relate to, whose life stories and identities inspire them to reach their highest potential.”
The Press Secretary went on to outline how LGBTQ+ representation is of particular importance now, amid the ongoing “relentless attacks” on the queer community from Republicans.
“From book bans to ‘Don’t Say Gay’ laws, MAGA extremists want to roll back the visibility and progress we fought so hard to achieve,” she said.
“But LGBTQI+ youth are resilient — and you’ve heard me say this before, you’ve heard the President say this before. They are fierce. They fight back. They aren’t going anywhere.”
Jean-Pierre thanked the cast for the “historic roles” they played in the show over the years, and credited Ilene Chaiken with saving precious lives and changing hearts and minds through her work.
Chaiken was then invited to address the room, echoing much of the Press Secretary’s comments.
“We’re delighted that The L Word lives on and speaks to a new generation,” the writer began. “But we’re painfully aware that our struggles are far from over.
“We face new threats against our community, from online harassment to legislative acts of violence to actual physical violence — astonishing, backward, mean-spirited attacks by groups and individuals who, in trying to deny our humanity, only diminish their own.
“We’ve been fighting this fight for generations, and we’ll never stand down. They may try to erase our stories from classrooms and libraries, but we’re here. We’re here today at the White House. And we won’t be erased. We will continue to be visible, powerful, engaged, contributive, creative, loving American citizens,” she powerfully declared.
Chaiken then handed the floor over to her colleague Leisha Hailey, who plays Alice in the beloved series.
Hailey stated, “As an actor on The L Word, I have had the enormous honor and responsibility of being visible for over 20 years. But visibility is not just the act of being seen; it is the ability to see.
“So to the librarian in Texas advocating to keep books with LGBTQIA themes on the shelves, we see you. To the LGBTQIA people leading their communities as rabbis, pastors and ministers, we see you. To the LGBTQIA community in Missouri about to lose their gender-affirming care, we see you. To the LGBTQIA community affected by the Dobbs decision in Idaho, Wisconsin, Alabama and Tennessee, we see you. And to the first openly LGBTQIA press secretary, we see you,” she continued.
“Visibility starts in our homes and our communities. And even if it feels like you’re under attack, know that we see you.”
After addressing the press in the White House, the cast members and co-creator of The L Word met with LGBTQ+ staffers of the Biden-Harris administration to discuss its work to advance equality for the queer community.
The original version of The L Word ran for six seasons from 2004 to 2009, with the Generation Q spin-off airing from 2019 to 2023. Although it was announced earlier this year that the sequel series had been cancelled after three seasons, a New York-set reboot of the OG is reportedly in the works with Chaiken at the helm.
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