Rhode Island’s 2017 teacher of the year Nikos Giannopoulos took a photo that went viral this week, as the image shows him in the oval office with President Trump and first lady Melania Trump while wearing an LGBTQ rainbow pin and sporting a black lace fan.
Captioned “Rhode Island Teacher of the Year 2017 meets the 45th President of the United States. That’s all,” the photo includes rainbow emojis.
Giannopoulos reported to The Hill that he was honored by the visit. “It was a great honor to be received in the Oval Office, and it really meant a lot to me that I was able to express myself authentically and represent for my community,” he said.
However, on Facebook, Giannopoulos posted the picture but did not mention Trump by name. Giannopoulos wrote, “When I think back to my time in the White House, I will not remember the person seated at the desk.”
He writes that he “wore a rainbow pin to represent my gratitude for the LGBTQ community that has taught me to be proud, bold, and empowered by my identity — even when circumstances make that difficult.”
As for the fan, Giannopoulos writes that he “carried a black lace fan to celebrate the joy and freedom of gender nonconformity.”
Giannopoulos says that as he neglects to remember the president, he will focus instead on teachers who braved the “structural barriers of race, gender, socioeconomic status, home language, immigration status, sexual orientation, and much more.”
The areas of contention between the LGBTQ community and President Trump include the president’s failure to date to acknowledge June as LGBTQ Pride month and his appointment of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who hasn’t committed to LGBTQ causes.
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