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Karine Jean-Pierre to Be 1st Black, LGBTQ+ White House Press Secretary

Karine Jean-Pierre

Karine Jean-Pierre, a Black lesbian and longtime LGBTQ+ activist, is going to be the new White House press secretary.

The White House announced Thursday that Jean-Pierre, who has been the principal deputy White House press secretary, will take over from Jen Psaki, who is leaving the press secretary post May 13. Jean-Pierre will be the first Black person and first out member of the LGBTQ+ community to hold the job.

“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 press release. “Jill and I have known and respected Karine a long time and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this Administration.

“Jen Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room. I want to say thank you to Jen for raising the bar, communicating directly and truthfully to the American people, and keeping her sense of humor while doing so. I thank Jen her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward.” Psaki is joining MSNBC.

Jean-Pierre previously made history in 2021 when, filling in for Psaki, she became the first out gay person to lead a White House press briefing.

Before becoming principal deputy press secretary, she worked in the Biden-Harris campaign, first as a senior adviser and then chief of staff to Kamala Harris, making her the first Black person and first lesbian to hold that position for a vice-presidential nominee. She had previously been a staffer in President Barack Obama’s administration and in both his presidential campaigns, chief public affairs officer for MoveOn.org, and a commentator for NBC and MSNBC.

She has also worked for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Initiative and for two members of the New York City Council. Before that, she worked at the Center for Community and Corporate Ethics, pushing major companies to change their business practices. Born in Martinique and raised in New York, Jean-Pierre is a graduate of Columbia University and is a published author.

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis released this statement on Jean-Pierre’s appointment: “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. 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. Our whole community looks forward to seeing Karine deliver for our nation and represent every LGBTQ person with pride.”

Jean-Pierre previously joined the LGBTQ&A podcast to discuss her work. Listen here

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