Karine Jean-Pierre: White House’s First Black and Openly LGBTQ+ Press Secretary


By Anzor Mustafa

On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced that Karine Jean-Pierre will take over Jen Psaki’s position of White House Secretary. Jean-Pierre will be making history as the first Black and openly LGBTQ+ White House press secretary.  She is currently the principal deputy press secretary, and will step into her new position on May 13th. 

“Karine not only brings the experience, talent, and integrity needed for this difficult job, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris Administration on behalf of the American people,” President Joe Biden said in a written statement. “Jill and I have known and respected Karine a long time and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this administration.”

Karine Jean-Pierre was born in Martinique to Haitian parents. She later grew up in Queens, New York. She talks about how her immigrant and working class background greatly influences her politics. In an interview with Move On she says, “Growing up in an immigrant household really defined me. It taught me to work hard.” 

At 16 she came out as lesbian and has written about her experience on Twitter: “I came out to my Mom when I was 16 years old,” Jean-Pierre wrote. “The revolted look on her face sent me running back into the proverbial closet and slamming the door shut. After that, my sexuality became a family secret and it would stay that way for years.” Fortunately, the bond of family perserved and she now is on better terms with her mom. She graduated from New York Institute of Technology and received a Master of Public Affairs from Columbia University. Previously, she worked for the Obama administration as the southeast regional political director. Her new role as press secretary opens the conversation about the importance of diversity. 

Sophomore Gianna Bernier prospects the significance of Jean-Pierre’s role, “A Black and openly gay person serving as the press secretary for the White House is unprecedented, and her employment will be one that makes history. As Karine Jean-Pierre begins her position of employment she will diversify this job that has been held by white people for the entity of its existence. Jean-Pierre is forging through uncharted territory, and her ability to do so induces hopefulness about the futures of all marginalized individuals.” 

Although these strides for a more just America is empowering. There must be a discussion held on why it took so long for there to be a Black press secretary in the first place.