Haitian-American White House deputy press secretary shares her coming out story

"I’m proud to be an out Black Queer woman and I have been for quite some time. I’m happy to say, my Mother is now proud of ALL of who I am," Karine Jean-Pierre posted.

This year, Karine Jean-Pierre made history as the first openly gay spokeswoman and second Black woman to brief the press from the White House briefing room podium. Now in celebration of Pride month, she’s sharing her coming out story with her legions of growing fans.

Friday, Jean-Pierre revealed via a series of tweets how her mother initially rejected her when she came out at age the tender age of 16.

Karine Jean-Pierre thegrio.com
White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre answers questions during her first daily White House press briefing May 26, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“I came out to my Mom when I was 16 years old. 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,” she began in a series of posts on Twitter.

“I dated, but I hid those relationships from my family. Just as American society has evolved over the course of the past couple of decades to embrace the LGBTQ community (never forgetting we still have work to do), my family has evolved to embrace my membership in it,” she continued.

“I’m proud to be an out Black Queer woman and I have been for quite some time. I’m happy to say, my Mother is now proud of ALL of who I am; she loves my partner and she loves being a doting grandmother to the daughter we are raising.”

“My journey towards feeling accepted by myself and loved ones wasn’t an easy one, but it was worthwhile,” she noted, encouraging others who may still be struggling to be accepted by their loved one. “No matter where you are in your journey, I see you, we see you and we celebrate you  – Happy Pride!”

Taking the podium

As we previously reported in May, Jean-Pierre spoke to theGrio about her historic White House appointment.

“I appreciate the moment and I’m honored to have the moment,” she explained to April Ryan, theGrio‘s Washington D.C Bureau Chief.

“It is an honor being behind that podium and I want to make sure I give it due respect,” Jean-Pierre emphasized. “It’s about how are we doing the job so that we’re making sure that we are lifting up the people’s voices everyday.”

Jean-Pierre follows in the footsteps of Judy Smith who commanded the White House Briefing Room during the George H.W. Bush presidency in 1991. Shonda Rhimes famously based her Olivia Pope character (played by Kerry Washington) on Smith’s role in the Bush administration. 

During her first briefing, Jean-Pierre said it was an “honor” but emphasized that the moment was bigger than her.

“I believe being behind the podium, being in this room, being in this building is not about one person — it’s about what we do on behalf of the American people,” she said. “Clearly the president believes representation matters and I appreciate him giving me this opportunity. It’s another reason why we are also proud this is the most diverse administration in history.”

She ended her remarks promising that anytime she is behind the podium she will be “truthful” and “transparent.”

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