November 30, 2020 at 10:27 am EST | by Chris Johnson
Two lesbian women of color named to key roles in Biden White House communication staff
Karine Jean Pierre and Pili Tobar were named to key roles in the White House communications staff. (Photo of Pierre via Twitter; photo of Tobar public domain)

The Biden transition team announced late Sunday night two lesbian women of color — Karine Jean-Pierre and Pili Tobar — were selected to serve as key members for the new administration’s White House communications staff, which will for the first-time ever be all-female.

Jean-Pierre served as senior adviser to President-elect Joe Biden and chief of staff to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris during the 2020 presidential campaign. Previously, Jean-Pierre was chief public affairs officer for MoveOn.org and an NBC and MSNBC Political Analyst.

During the Obama administration, Jean-Pierre was regional political director for the White House Office of Political Affairs during the Obama administration and served in various roles in the 2008 and 2012 Obama presidential campaign. Born in Martinique and raised in New York, Jean-Pierre is a graduate of Columbia University.

Tobar, on the other hand, was communications director for coalitions for the Biden campaign. Previously, Tobar was deputy director for America’s Voice, where she advocated on behalf of immigrants.

Additionally, Tobar has also worked as the Hispanic media director for Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer; national director of Hispanic Media and Western regional press secretary for the Democratic National Committee; communications director for Congressman Ruben Gallego; and communications director for the Latino Victory Project. Originally from Florida and raised in Guatemala, Tobar is a graduate of the University of Miami and now lives in D.C. with her wife and daughter. 

The Biden transition team announced the news about Jean-Pierre and Tobar in the same statement announcing Jennifer Psaki, who had previously served during the Obama administration as State Department spokesperson, would be White House press secretary in the new administration.

Jean-Pierre and Tobar aren’t the first openly gay people to work in a White House communications staff. In the Trump White House, Judd Deere has been serving as White House deputy press secretary. During the Obama years, Eric Schulz was also White House deputy press secretary and was the first openly gay person to conduct an on-camera news conference from the White House briefing room.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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