White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wants to make queer people ‘feel seen’

A screenshot of White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaking at an official briefing

Karine Jean-Pierre, the first Black and openly gay White House press secretary, has said she hopes her position helps others to “feel seen”.

In an interview with Advocate, Jean-Pierre was asked what it meant to her to be the first Haitian American, Black and out queer person to land the role of press secretary. 

Jean-Pierre explained that while going about her day-to-day work she often doesn’t realise the importance of her role and what it means for people to see her on the podium.

“It matters who represents the White House, and it matters who we give a voice to… I hope I bring a perspective and visibility – that more Americans can feel seen and realise that anything is possible,” she said.

“I always tell young people not just to dream but to dream bigger.”

The press secretary said it “says a lot about this president and the first lady” that they have trusted her with the role of speaking to people about the work they are doing and the challenges they face.

“I have the experience to do that job and I have the experience to be at that podium. I think it’s important to lift that up as well.”

Karine Jean-Pierre

Karine Jean-Pierre gives her first White House briefing as press secretary. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Jean-Pierre expressed unwavering faith in the Biden-Harris administration in regard to LGBTQ+ rights, and praised president Joe Biden and vice president Kamala Harris as “two people who understand what it is like to protect our community” and “uplift” it.

“If you think about president Biden, his record when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community, it is a record that he’s proud of.

“He has always, always been very clear and very bold in his actions and his words and what he has said about protecting this community, protecting our young people, protecting the transgender community, the trans community that is constantly under attack.”

In a recent forum, Biden called out bans on gender-affirming healthcare and said he doesn’t think “any state or anybody should have the right to do that”.  

To celebrate National Coming Out Day on 11 October Jean-Pierre shared her own story which touched on how her conservative family “grew to accept” who she is. 

Jean-Pierre often tells of how growing up in an immigrant household defined her and taught her to work hard. It’s a story she told in her 2019 book Moving Forward: A Story of Hope, Hard Work, and the Promise of America.