Dear Ilene Chaiken and Marja-Lewis Ryan,
The L-Word graced the screens of our televisions all across America in 2004 ushering in a new era of LGBT visibility in the media. Your show explored the lives of a close circle of queer women and their friends, taking a deep dive into an otherwise invisible world in mainstream culture. Countless people have taken to myriad outlets since to express the impact of your show’s groundbreaking representation: helping them negotiate their own identities, allowing them to better love their family and close friends, and exposing them to lived experiences they had not yet considered. For lesbian and bisexual women in particular, the L-Word proved to be a watershed moment in the media and a chance to come together.
More than the seismic shift that your series managed to create, the L-Word also exemplified an Out & Equal workplace. In addition to employing openly lesbian actress Leisha Hailey who played the central character Alice Pieszecki, it has been a platform where numerous LGBT actors have had a chance to advance their television careers and where their stories could be told. At a time where trans experiences desperately needed more visibility, you did not shy away from the cutting-edge when portraying the gender transition of Max Sweeney. Some would say that the L-Word was already trailblazing being a show produced and centering on women, yet under the LGBT leadership of Ilene Chaiken & co-writer Rose Troche it broke new ground uplifting queer women’s voices on set, in the writing room, and on screen.
Your Showtime classic is now set for a revival, and it could not be more timely or vital in the current political climate and given the radical cultural shifts in our understanding of gender and sexuality in the past decade alone. Out & Equal would like nothing better than to honor the L-Word at our annual Momentum Gala Event taking place on March 30th, paying homage to your past achievements and now future years of pioneering content. With your new showrunner and executive producer, Marja-Lewis Ryan, who has already written and directed award-winning LGBT films we have no doubt that this new incarnation of the L-Word will be just as revolutionary and thrilling as its predecessor. As Ryan recently declared, “I am beyond excited for the opportunity to usher in the next generation of diverse queer people.” Out & Equal would be thrilled to toast what will surely be another wild, beautiful, and transformative ride come March 30th.
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates