QUEER VOICES

How ‘The L Word’ Changed Lesbian Television Forever

You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

When Showtime premiered “The L Word” in 2004, there had only been a handful of regular lesbian characters on television, and most of them were the only ones in a sea of heterosexuals on their respective series. It had only been eight years since Ellen DeGeneres famously came out on her own sitcom, which was canceled the following season — due in part to the network’s disinterest in furthering storylines about a now openly out and proud character.

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