Karine Jean-Pierre’s touching message about coming out that you need to read

Karine Jean-Pierre at BookExpo at the Javits Center in New York City, May 2019.
Karine Jean-Pierre at BookExpo at the Javits Center in New York City, May 2019. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, the first out woman to hold a press briefing at the White House and the second Black woman to lead a press briefing on behalf of the White House, has long appeared to be proud of her identity. Yesterday, though, she was moved to share a touching message about how that wasn’t always the case.

Jean-Pierre talked about how she first came out to her mother. Unfortunately, like many, she was not accepting of her daughter’s sexuality at first — but as Jean-Pierre points out in a Twitter thread, sharing a picture of the White House lit up in Pride colors, that doesn’t have to mean acceptance will never come.

Related: Karine Jean-Pierre smacks down Fox reporter who wasn’t paying attention

“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,” Jean-Pierre’s thread begins. “After that, my sexuality became a family secret and it would stay that way for years.”

“I dated, but I hid those relationships from my family,” she went on. “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.”

Now, Jean-Pierre writes, “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. No matter where you are in your journey, I see you, we see you and we celebrate you – Happy Pride!”

Jean-Pierre’s thread came on the same day that President Joe Biden (D) proudly declared, “Pride is back at the White House.” Biden had signed into law H.R. 49, which declared the site of the Pulse shooting in Orlando, Florida, as a national monument. He also spoke alongside Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the first out member confirmed to a position in the Cabinet, and reaffirmed his commitment to the Equality Act in a room full of LGBTQ trailblazers and community advocates.

Jean-Pierre’s fellow Biden administration officials, including Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Senior Director of Coalitions Media Jennifer Molina, were moved into sharing her inspiring message and showing their appreciation for her honesty.

Wilson Cruz, Ana Navarro-Cardenas, Rosanna Arquette, Mia Farrow, and thousands of others joined in.

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