National Coming Out Day: White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre is First Black and First Gay in her Position

Shares Her Coming Out Story: It ‘Wasn’t an Easy Thing to Do.”

Karine Jean-Pierre
Karine Jean-Pierre

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre took a few moments during Tuesday’s press briefing to share her coming out story, in honor of National Coming Out Day.

“Like so many in the LGBTQ+ community, coming out wasn’t an easy thing to do,” Jean-Pierre, the first openly gay person to serve in her role, said. “My family was traditional and conservative. Being gay in my family wasn’t something that you mentioned out loud or celebrated.”

Gay Directors, Gay Films? By Emanuel Levy (Columbia University Press, August 2015).

Then her message turned hopeful. “But my family, like many families, grew to accept who I was. Who I loved didn’t change who I was as a person. It didn’t change the things I liked to do, and it didn’t change the goals I had for my life,” she said.

As the face of the Biden administration, Jean-Pierre has a powerful platform to spread important messaging with the world. On Tuesday, that message involved showing Americans a living, breathing example of LGBTQ+ success — and reminding anyone who is struggling with their identity, or the identity of a loved one, that there’s so much more to a person than who they are attracted to.

Her message also highlighted the importance of lifting up the queer community rather than forcing them into hiding as a result of discriminatory legislation.

“The beauty of America is its freedoms and the promise that you can do anything you want regardless of your race, sex, country of origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity,” Jean-Pierre, 48, continued.

“This is something we continue to strive toward and fight for, particularly as we continue to see a wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation across the country. And it’s why I’m so honored to serve the president and the first lady, who have stood with the LGBTQ community for many years and will continue to stand with all those who come out.”

She concluded with: “We [the White House staff] are thinking about those who are coming out, or those who are thinking about coming out. We are here for you, and we will continue to support you.”