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On Tuesday, at the beginning of her daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre spoke about her experience coming out and urged LGBTQ+ Americans not to give up. Her remarks celebrated National Coming Out Day.
"Like so many in the LGBTQ community, coming out wasn't an easy thing to do," Jean-Pierre said. "My family was traditional and conservative. Being gay in my family wasn't something that you mentioned out loud or celebrated.
"But my family -- like many, many other families -- grew to accept who I was. They saw that who I loved didn't change who I was as a person, it didn't change the things I like to do, and it didn't change the goals I had for my life."
Jean-Pierre asked Americans to take inspiration from the "beauty of America ... that you can achieve your dreams no matter your race, sex, country of origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity."
As the spokesperson for the most powerful person in the world and as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Jean-Pierre acknowledged the current political climate in which conservatives are attacking queer and trans people. However, she said that Americans must strive toward the country's promise.
"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," Jean-Pierre said.
Taking over the position in May after Jen Psaki's departure, Jean-Pierre is the first out person and the first Black woman to serve as White House press secretary.
\u201cOn this #NationalComingOutDay, I\u2019m honored to serve @POTUS and @FLOTUS who have stood with the LGBTQ community for years \u2013 and will continue to stand with all those who have come out, are thinking about coming out, and will come out here and across the globe.\u201d— Karine Jean-Pierre (@Karine Jean-Pierre) 1665530480
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have put LGBTQ+ issues at the forefront of their administration. The administration is historic in its nomination and confirmation of transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg and assistant secretary for health Rachel Levine as the first out gay and trans people to attain Senate-confirmed positions.
Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff, who are close with Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten, have been at the forefront of highlighting and supporting LGBTQ+ issues.
"I celebrate our LGBTQI+ community this National Coming Out Day. Never doubt that you are loved and appreciated for being exactly who you are," Vice President Harris tweeted.
\u201cI celebrate our LGBTQI+ community this National Coming Out Day. Never doubt that you are loved and appreciated for being exactly who you are.\u201d— Vice President Kamala Harris (@Vice President Kamala Harris) 1665508801
This year, Harris became the first vice president and highest American elected official to attend and participate in a Pride event when the couple surprised revelers at Washington, D.C.'s Capital Pride festival. Harris also hosted the first Pride celebration at the Vice President's residence at Naval Observatory featuring a drag queen, when Shangela emceed the event. In 2021, Harris became the first U.S. Vice President to march in a Pride event.
Jean-Pierre, in closing her remarks, had a message for LGBTQ+ Americans, saying, "... we are thinking about those who are coming out or those who are thinking about coming out, and we are here for you, and we will continue to support you."