Here’s Basically Everybody Who Was In “The L Word” And Also Is Gay Now

When the original L Word launched, “which of these actresses are gay in real life” was a common question asked of the cast members at press junkets and interviews. It was a different time, then. Leisha Hailey was the only out lesbian in the main cast. Kate Moennig was also a lesbian but it wasn’t okay yet to say so, at least not anywhere important or public or in print. Karina Lombard, Mia Kirshner and Laurel Holloman had all hinted at or embraced the bisexual label at some point, but both Laurel and Karina have since redacted the identification. Karina’s statement hurt the most, perhaps, as she indicated that being on the show was what convinced her she wasn’t bisexual anymore. Laurel, who’d identified that way after having an experience with another woman following her part in The Incredibly True Adventures of 2 Girls In Love, eventually came to feel that that relationship was a one-off and it wasn’t right for her to continue identifying as bisexual.

The L Word: Generation Q, however, is a VERY gay cast. So we’ll get through the first series and then move gayly onto the second!

Most recent update: May 2023

Here are the original L Word veterans who are now publicly gay, lesbian, queer or bisexual:

1. Leisha Hailey / Alice Pieszecki

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 04: Leisha Hailey attends the Los Angeles premiere of new Prime Video Series "A League of Their Own" on August 04, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

(Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

The only out lesbian playing a main character when the show premiered, Leisha Hailey had been a musician and an actress for a decade, and famously once dated worldwide lesbian heartthrob kd Lang. While on The L Word, Hailey was dating Nina Garduno of Free City, which’s how the show scored so much Free City apparel for characters who definitely couldn’t truly afford $150 t-shirts. Mid-series, she formed the band Uh Huh Her with Camila Grey, who was then dating Clea Duvall. Then Hailey and Grey dated! She’s now in a relationship with actress Kim Dickens.


2. Kate Moennig / Shane McCutcheon

Kate Moennig at the Paramount Emmy Party held at Catch Steak on September 10, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images)

(Photo by Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images)

Moennig is Gwyneth Paltrow’s cousin and has been playing queer and trans roles on television and in the movies since her first big break getting the part of Jake Pratt on Young Americans. Moennig figured out and embraced that she was gay while appearing in The L Word as Shane. For a while, her sexual orientation was basically an “open secret.” After The L Word she dated Holly Miranda for a while, was an ambassador for Wildfang and possibly dated Evan Rachel Wood. She has been married to Ana Rezende since 2017.


3. Daniel Sea / Max Sweeney

Daniel Sea is an incredible human who remains an activist and a DJ, doing indie projects and changing the world. They were out as queer and genderfluid when they began the show and told Drew in 2021, “I think the word I’d use for myself today is something like pansexual. I had sexual experiences with all different genders growing up.”


4. Kristanna Loken / Paige Sobel

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 31: Kristana Loken attends the 36th Global Film and Television Huading Awards on March 31, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Huading Awards Group)

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Huading Awards Group)

Loken was well-known amongst shameless lesbian gossip hounds (read: me) as the ex-girlfriend of Michelle Rodriguez and ex-kisser of Pink. Loken came out as bisexual in Curve Magazine in 2006 and showed up on The L Word shortly thereafter.


5. Clementine Ford / Molly Kroll

Actresses Cybill Shepherd (L) and Clementine Ford attend the 23rd Annual Race To Erase MS Gala in Beverly Hills California on April 15, 2016. / AFP / VALERIE MACON

Clementine Ford with her mother, Cybil Shephard. (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

Just as The L Word was ending, Clementine Ford appeared on the cover of DIVA magazine in a “coming out” interview that Ford immediately claimed did not actually happen, although she soon thereafter told The Advocate that she was gay, but wanted there not to be “this big emphasis on it.” She also denied rumors from DIVA Magazine that she’d had an affair with Kate Moennig, her on-screen love interest. She dated Linda Perry from 2009-2011, and married actor Cyrus Wilcox in April 2013.


6. Jane Lynch / Joyce Wyshnia

HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 04: Actress Jane Lynch is honored on The Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 4, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

(Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

As a character actress, Lynch never felt the need to come out, but has been living an openly lesbian life for all of her career. Her career has taken off since The L Word, and she also got married and then divorced. Also, she can do no wrong.


7. Holland Taylor / Peggy Peabody

(Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

It was a gift from the great lesbian beyond when we learned in 2016 that our dearest most treasured Sarah Paulson and our dearest most treasured Holland Taylor were madly in love and not afraid to say so. That was the day I started writing this post, which I then abandoned, and then re-engaged with because we have no content for today! Fun story: the first time I became aware of Sarah Paulson’s existence was when I saw a reading of a play about making The L Word, written by Susan Miller, in which Sarah Paulson appeared. So did Kate Moennig. Now, here we are.


8. Alexandra Hedison / Dylan Moreland

l word gay now3-001

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images // Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Hedison was the noteworthy ex-girlfriend of Ellen DeGeneres and a successful photographer when she joined the cast as Helena Peabody’s love interest Dylan in Season Three. She scored big in the Lesbian Mate Bingo in 2014, marrying Jodie Foster.


9. Elizabeth Keener / Dawn Denbo

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 18: Actress Dania Ramirez and Elizabeth Keener arrive at the Los Angeles Premiere "Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" at Dolby Theatre on May 18, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

Actress Dania Ramirez and Elizabeth Keener arrive at the Los Angeles Premiere “Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” at Dolby Theatre on May 18, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

Keener was one of those up-and-coming actresses in TLW who was pretty clearly living the life of a gay lady but not ready to say so. AND THEN. “Gay Pride Weekend had such a buoying effect on Keener that the actress stepped out in public not one, not two, but three times, with rumored new lady love Jackie Warner of Bravo’s Work Out,” wrote Gawker in 2008. She was also linked to Top Chef’s Jamie Lauren,


10. Guinevere Turner / Gabby Deveaux

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 17: Actress Guinevere Turner attends the premiere of FilmMcQueen's "Crazy Bitches" at Brews Brothers on August 17, 2019 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)

Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Turner was part of the general social web that wrote and produced The L Word, having worked on films like Go Fish with people like her ex-girlfriend, co-executive producer Rose Troche. She was one of a handful of out actresses who appeared on the show because you cannot make the first american lesbian TV show ever without giving Guienevere Turner a part. She also wrote three episodes.


11. Patricia Velasquez / Begoña

(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW)

Velasquez had a bit role as the actress playing Marina in Lez Girls, but remained deeply closeted until 2015, when she came out and released a memoir about her life, including details of her relationship with Sandra Bernhard.


12. Ali Liebert / Rebecca

VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 18: Canadian actress Ali Liebert attends the 6th Annual UBCP/ACTRA Awards at Vancouver Playhouse on November 18, 2017 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Andrew Chin/Getty Images)

Photo by Andrew Chin/Getty Images

Liebert was one of many Canadian actresses who played tiny roles with zero lines because The L Word shot in Vancouver. She went public about her relationship with her girlfriend in 2015 and has since played many queer roles on shows like Bomb Girls and Lost Girl, plus getting very involved in the Christmas Movie industry.


13. Kelly McGillis / Colonel Gillian Davis

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 18: Actress Kelly McGillis poses for a portrait during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival at the WireImage Portrait Studio at Village At The Lift on January 18, 2013 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage)

(Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage)

McGillis played a closeted Colonel trying to kick Tasha out of the military in Season Five of The L Word. McGillis herself remained in the closet until a few months after TLW wrapped up, coming out as a lesbian in May of 2009.


14. Sandra Bernhard / Charlotte Birch

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: Sandra Bernhard attends the Vanity Fair Party during the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival at the State Supreme Courthouse on April 23, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival)

Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival

Bernhard has been an out bisexual comedian for many years, going back to her rumored romance with Madonna in the ’90s, which is one of my favorite things to ever happen.


15. Heather Matarazzo / Stacy Merkin

Heather Matarazzo (Photo by Rob Latour/Variety/Penske Media via Getty Images)

Heather Matarazzo came out discretely in 2004, and began a guest role of Stacy Merkin on The L Word in 2007. She began dating musician Caroline Murphy in 2007 and the two broke up in 2012. She also played gay in the short-lived Logo series Exes and Ohs. She married Heather Truman in 2018.


16. Anne Ramsay/ Robin

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 16: Actress Anne Ramsay attends the "Mad About You" red carpet event at The Rainbow Room on December 16, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images


17. Tammy Lynn Michaels / Lacey

l word gay now7

Melissa Etheridge’s ex-girlfriend‘s acting career never fully took off, but she had a very memorable turn as Lacey, Shane’s insane stalker, in The L Word.


18. Patricia Melone / Woman #1

l word gay now6

Melone, who eventually became a spokeswoman for lesbian vacation company Sweet, crashed the set of Lez Girls with Dawn Denbo in Season Five.


19. Lucia Rijker / Dusty

on the set of "The L Word" with Rachel Shelly and Rose Rollins

on the set of “The L Word” with Rachel Shelly and Rose Rollins

Rijker is a world-famous kickboxer known as “the most dangerous woman in the world” who appeared twice on the show, once as Dana’s trainer and again as Helena’s jailhouse lover Dusty. She was actually Ilene Chaiken’s personal trainer at one time, and the two were working together on a project about female athletes. In 2008, she told Curve Magazine that she doesn’t put a label on her sexuality.


20. Luvia Petersen / Dax and “Cowboy”

Screenshot 2016-06-10 13.39.41

Peterson, another Canadian actress, is bisexual. She played two bit parts on The L Word, including Dax, an employee of Ivan’s garage.


21. Brynn Horrocks /  “Flight Attendant”

Screenshot 2016-06-10 12.29.28

What a role! What a time to be alive!


L Word: Generation Q: Who is Out as Lesbian or Bisexual

The L Word: Generation Q made efforts to employ queer actors for the main roles, although not all the actors on the show have ever spoken publicly about their sexual orientations. But some have!

22. Jacqueline Toboni // Sarah Finley

(Photo by Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic)

The only out girl in Toboni’s high school gave her The L Word box set on DVD and told her to “figure it out.” Eventually, she did! She’s now happily in a relationship with model Kassandra Clementi.

23. Arienne Mandi // Dani Nunez

(Photo by Jemal Countess/WireImage)

Of her sexuality, Mandi has said, “if there were to be anything close to what I feel, it would be pan. I accept love in all forms and I give love. It’s just all love.”

24. Rosanny Zayas // Sophie

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 02: Rosanny Zayas attends The 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton on April 02, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for GLAAD)

Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for GLAAD

Rosanny has shared many cute stories of sneaking around to watch the original series as a teenager and told OutSmart Magazine, “I’m open to falling in love with someone’s personality and how we connect as people.”

25. Stephanie Allynne // Nat

(Photo by Phillip Faraone/FilmMagic)

Allynne met her now-wife Tig Notaro on the set of In a World. Prior to meeting Tig, she’d never dated women, but according to Allyne, “I was so into Tig and I was falling in love with her and I didn’t know how to identify it because I thought I was straight.”

26. Mercedes Mason // Lena

Mercedes Mason as "Lena" in The L Word: Generation Q

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/SHOWTIME.

After Season 1 of Generation Q premiered, Mason came out on Instagram, telling her followeres “Usually I’m pretty private about my private life but its’ important for me to discuss my bisexuality because I grew up always being told it was a ‘phase.'”

27. Jillian Mercado // Maribel

(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)

Following the premiere of Generation Q, Mercado said on her instagram, “I am proud to say that I’ve done so many great things for the disability community (there is so much more to be done done tho). Over the course of this year I had the absolute honor to know people from all communities that make me me. That being a woman, having a disability, being Dominican, and finally I can add to that magical layer being queer.”

28. Jordan Hull // Angie

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 24: Jordan Hull attends the 2023 Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival Opening Night Gala at Japanese American Cultural & Community Center on March 24, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

(Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

When saying goodbye to the series upon which she became a fan favorite and won all of our hearts right over, Jordan Hull posted on instagram: “Endless love for the family I’ve made on this show. I’m the luckiest queer in the world to be raised by a bunch of queer superstars.”

29. Olivia Thirlby // Rebecca (Season 1)

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Actress Olivia Thirlby arrives at the premiere of Amazon's "Goliath" at The London West Hollywood on September 29, 2016 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

(Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

When she participated in the self evident photo project in 2011, she said she was honored to be a part of it because “it’s a way of me showing gratitude that I live surrounded by a community in which I don’t have to hide their sexual orientation…. and I am not one hundred percent straight.”

30. Rosie O’Donnell // Carrie (Season 2-3)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 04: Rosie O'Donnell attends the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards New York at New York Hilton Midtown on May 04, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for GLAAD)

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for GLAAD

LEGEND ROSIE O’DONNELL Y’ALL ALREADY KNOW ALL ABOUT HER SHE IS GAY AND SHE IS CARRIE, TINA’S WIFE. TRANSCENDENT.

31. Paula Andrea Placido / Roxy (Season 3)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 16: Paula Andrea Placido attends the Los Angeles premiere of Prime Video's "The People We Hate At The Wedding" at Regency Village Theatre on November 16, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Paula’s racking up bit queer roles all over the map, from Hacks to Shameless to her turn as Dani’s longtime on-and-off will-they-wont-they friend with benefits in The L Word: Generation Q‘s final season.

32. Carmen Lo Bue // Dre (Season 3)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 08: Carmen LoBue attends Outfest Fusion Opening Night Gala at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center on April 08, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Outfest)

Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Outfest

Carmen appeared in the Autostraddle Calendar as one of our 12 queer models for 2011 and describes themselves as “a Queer Non-Binary Afro-Pilipinx American Filmmaker with a passion for social activism that is expressed through their work as a creator.” They were a delight as Dre, a potential love interest for Sophie and for Dani in Season Three.

33. Heidi Sulzman // Misty (Season 3)

heidi sulzman headshot

Heidi Sulzman, who played Carrie’s girlfriend Misty in Season Three, is married to a woman and has a son and also did a some stage theater with showrunner Marja Lewis-Ryan in the past!

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Riese

Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3223 articles for us.

68 Comments

  1. I was going to make a joke about how this excellent journalism earns you a (Peggy) Peabody Award, but then I remembered that the Peabody is for radio and TV journalism and so my joke (and my whole life) is RUINED.

  2. I have the world’s biggest soft spot for Kelly McGillis’s character. My one awkward foray into teenage heterosexuality was really into Top Gun.

    Just as Kelly McGillis later went on to be a lesbian lawyer-type on The L Word, I grew up to be a lesbian lawyer in real life. And we happen to share the same first name (Gillian).

    • I always thought Mia was bi because i think i read that somewhere when the show first aired. Then 2 years later, i learned she had an apartment in Paris and since I lived there, I started fantasizing about runnning into her then we would go on a date and fall madly in love. I never run into her :'(

    • I went to school with Ali Liebert, she was on my soccer team lol and my gaydar was off on her completely…pretty sure I was the only out lesbian in my school back in that time…I worked on the L Word in Vancouver for months and was part of Dylan’s “posse” in season 6 lol I was also in Exes and Ohs…they filmed that one in Vancouver too but it’s so hard to find the episodes online so haven’t seen it except for small clips. Did you all know there was actually supposed to be a show called The Farm right after the L Word, we started filming it right after the original L Word wrapped. The premise was that Alice was framed or blamed for Jenny’s murder, yes she was originally murdered, and Alice was sent to jail. There was a scene where she had to bump into me and I had to go use a public toilet in the jail to show that she had zero privacy, another scene where a whole group of background regular performers were in a common room watching a jail tv and two of the main characters were messing around on a couch under a blanket with the guards not noticing…awkard scene to film, but the show would have been good…didn’t get picked up and when OITNB came out on Netflix, the way it looked was similar to The Farm…the only reason that you see Jenny dead at the beginning of season 6 and not the end of the original L Word was one of the background performers on set leaked the info while working…cool article! Thanks for writing it :)

  3. My freshman year of college Uh Huh Her came to New Orleans and I got to see them and Leisha Hailey and Carmila Grey both signed my rainbow silicone bracelet. This is only tangentially related to the article, but it was one of the gayest nights of my life and I like to talk about it whenever possible.

    Also this list is a wonderful resource.

  4. Wait Rachel Shelley is straight? I guess the fact for a while she wrote(monthly) for Diva Magazine. It’s also where I discovered they filmed in Vancouver, because she was talking about her time filming there. There goes my chance. lol

      • I would now have to agree after finding that out today. Cause, one article she was talking about what it was like being in Vancouver again for a woman’s festival after the L Word was already done. I just assumed, she must be into women, why else would they have her writing vs another British celeb who’s into women.

    • I have a friend who was in the staff for the movie Rachel filmed in Vancouver a few years ago and told me Rachel hit on her. So, there you go… She’s presumably at least bi or queer.

  5. Oh my gosh. Just reading this takes me so far back into the closet and into how it felt when I first secretly watched the L Word, and what a twisted weird secret thing liking girls felt like (a perception that was NOT misspelled by Ilene Chaiken’s twisted weird Weho lesbian universe, TBH, or the fact that almost none of the actors were out back then).

    I like now a lot better ??

  6. Re: Laurel Holloman, i read a couple articles in which she mentioned being happily married to a man, being a fulfilled mother and painter, and being a proud bisexual. I’m confused. Also, I think Anne Ramsay (Robin) is gay. Or maybe she just likes hanging out at Dyke Day LA because why not? (but seriously, she’s a gay lady.)

    • i address the laurel holloman situation in the intro

      i know anne ramsay is gay! butttt nobody has *said so* in the press at any point, which means i’d be the first person to say it i think…. which means a ton of people would come here and yell at me about how if she has chosen to keep her life private i should respect that or whatnot. she seems to play exclusively gay characters these days, too. i don’t know, i’m on the fence about whether or not to include her. she’s more mainstream famous than a lot of people on this list so the risk level is a bit higher.

  7. Hi there, I’ve read a few things written here before but now I am a full blown AfterEllen transfer so I’ll be here a lot more.

    Kate Moennig is the reason I found AfterEllen I wanted to see what she was up to after Young Americans. Not sure if you were implying that her character Jake Pratt was trans but she wasn’t. She dressed as a boy to attend the boys boarding school to see if her mother would notice she enrolled in a boys school. It was kind of a convoluted reason but she was a she dating a guy.

    About Elizabeth Keener, your snippet talks about her coming out with Jackie Warner but the picture is with Chef Jamie Lauren.

    Finally, Ali Liebert…WHAT?! “She went public about her relationship with her girlfriend in 2015” what, again. I totally missed that, way to drop the ball AfterEllen.

  8. This is literally such an illegitimate article for simply one reason….. NO FUCKING DISCRETION.
    Obviously the L Word has been out for some time now. Like many shows, it ended up in the Netflix library of shows to binge watch. Which gives it a wider audience and allows previous generations to watch it now. The same goes for many other shows and movies.

    The literal first sentence of your article, which is about the sexuality of the actresses in real life, is completely unnecessary. “A big breakthrough moment for me about my own sexual orientation happened after reading an interview with Erin Daniels, who played Dana Fairbanks (RIP) on The L Word, in which she affirmed that despite playing a gay lady on a teevee show, she was in fact a heterosexual.” Why is that? Well for one you added (RIP) behind Dana’s name. Are you fucking kidding me? I thought maybe I was mistaken and somehow skipped over the “SPOILER ALERT” notice….. BUT nothing. NOTHING. Well, Except a really awful title for the article itself which happens to be grammatically incorrect.

    In ANY article about a TV series (completed or still running) or in ANY article about a Movie, the author out of respect for viewers, readers, and artists is obligated to warn/notify readers of any *SPOILER ALERTS*. OH, and if you happen to just be completely ignorant, a spoiler alert is an alert to notify the readers who have not seen the film or completed the series to STOP where they’re at and pick up in another part of the article or to completely stop reading at this point because the author is about to share a major event/plot that happened.

    Dana dying is HUGE thing. I haven’t gotten to that yet. So even if my comment is pointless or hypothetical to you, I’m letting you know that you ruined it for me. Congrats. I’m sure you’ll do it for many other innocent googlers and netflix watchers.

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