White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre recalled Friday in a message for Pride Month how her family came to accept her as part of the LGBTQ community despite their initial disapproval.
“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 wrote in a tweet. “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.”
Jean-Pierre, 43, was raised in Queens, New York, by working-class Haitian immigrant parents. After earning a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, she played various roles in President Barack Obama’s administration and worked on his re-election campaign in battleground states. Later, she joined MSNBC as a political commentator, and subsequently became part of the Biden administration.
Now, Jean-Pierre wrote, her mother fully accepts her queer identity: “She loves my partner and she loves being a doting grandmother to the daughter we are raising.”
The deputy press secretary is the partner of CNN reporter Suzanne Malveaux, with whom she has a young daughter, Soleil. In her 2019 memoir, “Moving Forward,” Jean-Pierre talks at length about her sexuality, her mental health and overcoming abuse.
Read her full message below:
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