Joe Biden gave a young gay high schooler the courage to come out. Now, he’s a crucial part of his White House team

Joe Biden shakes hands with his gay platform manager Brendan Cohen.

A gay member of Joe Biden’s White House team has described how the president-elect gave him the courage to come out.

Brendan Cohen, 26, from Wisconsin, served as the deputy director of editorial on the Biden-Harris election campaign, and in December last year it was announced that he would manage Biden’s official social media platforms.

He told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that his interest in politics began when he saw Biden speak about same-sex marriage on TV, giving a speech that helped him accept himself for who he is.

“In high school, as I was coming to terms with the fact that I was a gay man, I realised pretty early on that one political party supported my rights and the other didn’t,” he said.

“It was the initial spark that got me to start paying attention and got me involved.

“In fact, I remember vice president Biden on Meet the Press expressing his support for same-sex marriage — and for a kid who was scared and in the closet at the time it meant the world and helped give me the confidence to come out and live openly.”

In 2012, while serving as vice president, Biden came out in support of same-sex marriage, before his boss Barack Obama did the same.

During an edition of Meet The Press he said: “Who do you love? And will you be loyal to the person you love? And that’s what people are finding out is what all marriages, at their root, are about.”

While at university, Cohen discovered he had a passion for political campaigns, and went on to work on various Democratic campaigns.

He said that finally getting to work on Biden’s presidential campaign was a “dream come true”, and his digital skills were put to the test when the coronavirus pandemic began, forcing most of the campaign online.

Now that he is officially joining the White House team, he said: “I think we have a duty and an important job to communicate with the American people in an effective and clear manner.

“I don’t necessarily get intimidated but I’m more excited by the opportunity, especially as we get underway.”