Karine Jean-Pierre, an out lesbian, has been named the next White House Press Secretary. Jean-Pierre will be the first out LGBTQ person and the first Black person to hold the office.
Originally from the French West Indies island of Martinique, Jean-Pierre was raised in New York City and attended graduate school at Columbia University. She started her career in politics working for the John Edwards campaign in 2004 and later worked for Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns.
During Obama’s first term, she worked in the White House Office of Political Affairs, a position Jean-Pierre said was important to her as a lesbian.
“What’s been wonderful is that I was not the only; I was one of many,” she told The Advocate in 2011. “President Obama didn’t hire LGBT staffers, he hired experienced individuals who happen to be LGBT.”
“Serving and working for President Obama where you can be openly gay has been an amazing honor. It felt incredible to be a part of an administration that prioritizes LGBT issues.”
Outside of her work with political campaigns and the government, she was the national spokesperson for the progressive organization MoveOn in 2016, a commentator for NBC News and MSNBC, and a lecturer at Columbia University.
She was the first gay woman and only the second Black woman to lead a White House press briefing in the James S. Brady Briefing Room when she led the briefing last year.
During the 2020 presidential campaign, Jean-Pierre served as Kamala Harris’s chief of staff, making her the first Black person to serve as chief of staff to a vice-presidential candidate and one of the highest-ranking LGBTQ people in the Biden/Harris campaign.
She currently serves as Deputy Press Secretary under Jen Psaki. Jean-Pierre will replace Psaki, who had announced she would vacate the role after a year in the position for a job with MSNBC. Her last day will be May 13.
Jean-Pierre led the White House’s participation in Spirit Day last year and said it was significant to her because “I could only hope that young people who might be watching or see clips of this briefing will know that they are supported and represented in the highest levels of government today.”
“Karine Jean-Pierre is a brilliant communicator and person of tremendous intelligence, humor and poise, skills that will serve her and our country well in her new role. There are few jobs more visible or more important to our democracy than to share information with the White House press corps and answer their questions,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said after the news of the promotion surfaced.
“To have an out queer person of color speak for the President of the United States says everything about Karine’s talent and heart, and recognizes that LGBTQ people can belong, contribute and succeed in every room.” Ellis continued. Our whole community looks forward to seeing Karine deliver for our nation and represent every LGBTQ person with pride.”
Psaki also praised Jean-Pierre on Twitter in a lengthy thread.
“She is passionate. She is smart and she has a moral core that makes her not just a great colleague, but an amazing Mom and human. Plus, she has a great sense of humor,” Psaki tweeted.
“I can’t wait to see her shine as she brings her own style, brilliance and grace to the podium.”
This article appears courtesy of our media partner LGBTQ Nation.