In celebration of Lesbian Visibility Week, the cast of The L Word joined out White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to kick off yesterday’s press briefing.
Jean-Pierre was joined at the podium by the show’s co-creator Ilene Chaiken, as well as actresses Jennifer Beals, Katherine Moennig, and Leisha Hailey, who respectively play beloved characters Bette, Shane, and Alice in both the original early 2000s series as well as the 2019 The L Word: Generation Q reboot.
Jeane-Pierre introduced the L Word team by acknowledging the massive impact the show has had on generations of queer women.
Jean-Pierre spoke about how the show has saved lives and how she attended the filming of last year’s episode that featured a marriage between two iconic characters, “a moment that meant so much to queer women across the country,” she said.
She spoke about feeling “alone and sometimes invisible” growing up as a young queer woman of color.
“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.”
“From book bans to don’t say gay laws, MAGA extremists want to roll back the visibility we fought so hard to achieve, but LGBTQI+ youth are resilient… they are fierce, they fight back, they aren’t going anywhere.”
She emphasized that people in the Biden administration “have their back.”
Chaiken and Hailey also spoke.
Chaiken acknowledged the immense power of speaking alongside the first out lesbian press secretary in U.S. history who is also serving the most pro-equality president.
“We learned by the beautiful response to our show 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 said.
“We’re painfully aware that our struggles are far from over… 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…and we won’t be erased.”
Hailey then added, “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,” she continued. “It is the ability to see.” She went to express to the queer people fighting for their right to exist every day, “We see you.”
After the briefing, the cast met with LGBTQ+ members of President Joe Biden’s administration to discuss efforts to advance LGBTQ+ equality.
On Instagram, the stars celebrated their appearance at the White House.
“It is a once in a lifetime event for an actor to be part of a project that offers up measurable good, meaningful healing for so many,” wrote Jennifer Beals, alongside the video of the cast and Jean-Pierre strutting down the White House halls to Beyonce’s Run the World (Girls).
“It starts with visibility. Knowing your story-whether in part or parcel-deserves to be told, matters. It is an honor to be an ally to the brilliant, diverse, intrepid #LGBTQIA+ community. I have gained so much more than I have given. What an honor. Lucky me.”