The L Word cast marked Lesbian Visibility Week with historic White House visit: ‘We see you’

The L Word cast and crew at the White House. (C-Span)

With Lesbian Visibility Week under way, who better to represent the community in the White House than the cast and crew of beloved queer series, The L Word: Generation Q?

Actresses Jennifer Beals (Bette), Leisha Hailey (Alice) and Kate Moennig (Shane), along with series co-creator and executive producer Ilene Chaiken, joined the White House’s first ever openly gay press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, for a powerful display.

Showtime series The L Word: Generation Q is a 2019 reboot of the hugely influential series The L Word – which ran between 2004 and 2009 and revolutionised representation on screen for lesbians and queer women by reflecting the stereotypes, challenges and every-day ups and downs.

This trailblazing legacy was confirmed by Jean-Pierre, who introduced the briefing, by saying: “As a young queer woman of colour, 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 books who[m] they can relate to, whose life stories and identities inspire them to reach their highest potential.”

The series follows a group of LGBTQ+ friends living in Los Angeles, and, as Chaiken said: “We learned by the beautiful response to our show how profoundly 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

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“But we’re painfully aware that our struggles are far from over.” 

Despite bringing back fan favourite characters such as Fletcher and even redeeming Daniel Sea’s trans character Max, Generation Q was cancelled last month, after three seasons. Fans mourned as it became another LGBTQ-centric show to have the plug pulled across streaming platforms.

The slew of cancellations comes alongside increasingly rampant anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being rolled out across the US, targeting drag and trans youth as well as banning LGBTQ+ books from libraries and schools.

Chaiken reiterated that the LGBTQ+ community was battling new threats from “astonishing, backward, mean-spirited” people trying to “deny our humanity”. She pointed to online harassment, “legislative acts of violence” and “actual acts of violence” at the root of the hatred.

The L Word: Generation Q cast. (Showtime)
The cast of The L Word: Generation Q. (Showtime)

“We’ve been fighting this fight for generations,” she continued, “and will 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.”

Referring to the importance of Lesbian Visibility Week, Hailey added: “Visibility starts in our homes and our communities. Even if it feels like you’re under attack, know that we see you.”

Jean Pierre confirmed that the cast and crew of the show would be meeting with LGBTQ+ staff members in the Biden-Harris administration to discuss plans “to advance full equality for our community”.

Although Generation Q has been cancelled, a new spin-off, also written by Chaiken, is in the works and is tipped to be set in New York.