The 51-year-old actress said she "had no idea" that the show would impact the lesbian community in such a profound way, but was ultimately grateful for the accolades it received.
"There was always my secret hope, even when we were shooting the pilot, that it might be helpful to some young girl out there who identified as lesbian who maybe didn't have access to a larger community and might be able to see herself represented in some way as a real human being rather than being a trope on some film or television show," she said.
Later in the interview, the "Flashdance" icon said that her biracial heritage had given her "an intense sense of otherness" during her adolescence, which impacted her portrayal of Bette Porter on "The L Word."
She went on to note, "One of the things that I definitely learned from being on the show is that we are all individuals. You can't make a blanket statement about somebody's experience, whether they're gay or straight or biracial or white or black or whatever it is. You have to honor the individual."