‘Visibility matters’: Karine Jean-Pierre speech at GLAAD Media Awards met with standing ovation

Jean-Pierre is set to become the first Black, openly LGBTQ+ White House press secretary in history on May 13.

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Karine Jean-Pierre, who is set to become the first Black and openly LGBTQ+ person to serve as White House press secretary, was honored with a warm welcome from the crowd at GLAAD’s 33rd Media Awards in New York City on Friday.

Jean-Pierre, 44, whose appointment to the role was announced on May 5, was given a standing ovation as she took the stage at the annual ceremony hosted by glad GLAAD, the world’s LGBTQ+ media advocacy organization, as reported by PEOPLE.

“Thank you, family. As a member of the LGBTQ community, family, I am excited to be here with all of you to show that visibility matters,” Jean-Pierre said while introducing Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president and CEO, according to the outlet. “Representation matters for all marginalized communities at every intersection.”

“I am proud of the work that GLAAD and so many LGBTQ organizations have done to speak up on matters that move our country forward, like voting rights, reproductive rights, the Equality Act, and appointing the first Black female justice to the Supreme Court,” she added, per the report.

As previously reported, the White House on Thursday announced in a statement that Jean-Pierre will assume the role on May 13 when Jen Psaki steps down from her post. Psaki announced her departure from the Biden-Harris administration earlier this year.

President Joe Biden said in a statement that Jean- Pierre “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.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 06: Karine Jean-Pierre attends the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Hilton Midtown on May 06, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for GLAAD)

In an interview with theGrio earlier this year, Jean-Pierre said that growing up, she was told that she would have to overcome statistical odds due to the unique space she occupies as a Black, queer woman who is the daughter of immigrants.

“I am one of those people…where statistically I am not supposed to be where I am today,” Jean-Pierre said. “I am not supposed to be in the space having an office in the West Wing … going in and out every day through the White House gates and being able to to be part of this administration because of what I grew up with.”

Before her historic press secretary appointment, Jean-Pierre served as senior advisor and national spokesperson for MoveOn.org, and was a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.

In addition to working on John Edwards and Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, Jean-Pierre was also a lecturer of international and public affairs at Columbia University.

During Friday’s GLAAD awards, West Side Story star Ariana DeBose performed “Somewhere” from the Oscar-winning musical, before presenting an award for excellence in media to Broadway actress Judith Light.

“Sadly, today, we are living through another cycle of violence and sorrow particularly for marginalized communities,” Light, 73, said to the audience as she accepted the award.

“There are deeply destructive bills in Florida, Alabama and Texas. No one of any race, gender identity, sexual orientation or ability should have to face discrimination from their own government,” she said.

theGrio’s Gerren Keith Gaynor contributed to this report.

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