“The L Word” Cast Speak at the White House For LGBTQ+ Rights During Lesbian Visibility Week
In honor of honor Lesbian Visibility Week, the cast of “The L Word” headed to the White House on April 25 to speak to the press about issues affecting LGBTQ+ people. Stars Leisha Hailey, Jennifer Beals, and Kate Moennig — who play Alice, Bette, and Shane, respectively on the original series and the three-season reboot “The L Word: Generation Q” — were joined by original series creator Ilene Chaiken and the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. The White House tweeted a stream of their appearance, and Chaiken and Hailey, who are both lesbians, urged queer people and their allies to speak up and continue to fight in the current political climate.
Jean-Pierre, who, Chaiken noted, is the first openly lesbian press secretary, said that “The L Word” and “Gen Q” are “two Showtime series that chronicle the friendship, the love, the challenges, and the triumphs of strong, funny, and resilient queer women.” The press secretary shared that she was actually an extra in the “Generation Q” finale, which saw Beals’s Bette finally marry Tina (Laurel Holloman). After the cast’s appearance in the press room, Jean-Pierre said they were going to meet with LGBTQ+ staffers to talk about the administration’s work.
Chaiken said in part, “When ‘The L Word’ debuted in 2004, we too accomplished a few firsts by bringing our stories into homes and communities around the world. We learned by the beautiful response to our show how profoundly how important it is for people, particularly young people, to see themselves reflected in our entertainment culture and to know that they’re embraced, valued, and not alone.”
She continued, “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.”
Then Hailey took the podium and said, “I’m standing here today because as a young gay girl in Nebraska who raced soap box derby cars and wore rainbow suspenders, I was seen by my family. Their love and support gave me the courage and confidence to live my life openly.”
“Visibility is not just the act of being seen, it’s the ability to see,” the actor said. “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, Tennessee, we see you. And to the first openly LGBTQIA press secretary, we see you.”
“Visibility starts in our homes and our communities, and even if it feels like you’re under attack, know that we see you,” Hailey concluded before the cast left the press room.
The original “The L Word” aired on Showtime from 2004 to 2009. The reboot — which saw most of the original cast return — finished its third season in January 2023 and was canceled by Showtime in March. Showtime has since removed “Gen Q” from its streaming platforms. Another spin-off, “The L Word: New York,” is in development.
See photos from “The L Word” cast’s trip to the White House ahead.