Have you seen the latest viral photo of President Trump? No, not an aggressive handshake with a foreign leader during an overseas diplomatic trip. Instead, it was LGBT teacher Nikos Giannopoulos’ recent visit to the West Wing to meet the president and the unorthodox photo that resulted from the encounter.
Giannopoulos was named the Teacher of the Year in Rhode Island and was awarded with a meeting with President Trump and First lady Melania Trump. And Giannopoulos took the opportunity to make the photo a little more interesting by adding a black-lace fan and an intense stare into the camera. Also of note, he wore a rainbow pin in support of LGBTQ equality. The President had no problem with the fan though, according to Giannopoulos:
“Oh, he loved it! I popped it open when I walked into the office because I’m a very sassy person. And Trump complimented it right away. He said, ‘I love the fan!'”
He afterwards took to Facebook to discuss what he would have told President had he had the opportunity to do so:
“In previous years, state teachers of the year were given the opportunity to speak to the president for a few minutes each… Had I been given the opportunity, I would have told him that the pride I feel as an American comes from my freedom to be open and honest about who I am and who I love. I would have told him that queer lives matter and anti-LGBTQ policies have a body count.”
Giannopoulos, who is a special education teacher and leads the Gay Straight Alliance at his school, further explained:
“Taking pride in queer identity means rejecting the shame imposed upon us by a harsh society…. It means opening yourself up to a lifetime of criticism and misunderstanding, but knowing that it’s worth it to be able to live authentically.”
The photo has since been shared and retweeted many times. Kudos to Giannoloulos for bringing some sass, as he likes to call it, to the White House.