A memorable photo of President Donald Trump and first lady Melania in the Oval Office with the Rhode Island Teacher of the Year is raising an eyebrow or two.
That’s because Nikos Giannopoulos, an openly gay teacher, struck a slightly cocky pose while holding a black lace fan, wearing a rainbow LGBTQ pin, a ring through his nose and a gold anchor around his neck for the photo last week.
Giannopoulos, 29, posted the picture on Facebook with the caption, “Rhode Island Teacher of the Year 2017 meets the 45th President of the United States.” He also added three rainbow emojis.
The headlines from the media coverage of the photo ranged from, “With flair, gay R.I. Teacher of the Year meets Trump,” “Rhode Island’s ‘sassy’ Teacher of the Year posed next to Trump with a black lace fan – and Trump loved it,” to “A teacher’s decision to be ’visibly queer’ in his photo with Trump.”
In an interview with the Washington Post, Giannopoulos said his attire for his White House visit was essentially the same style he wore in his classroom, “with a little bit of flair.”
“The issue with being openly queer is our existence is constantly politicized,” he told the Post. “They never stop to think: ‘Oh, maybe that’s just who I am.’”
Giannopoulos is a special education teacher at Beacon Charter High School for the Arts in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and it was his work with the school’s gay-straight alliance that helped him win the Teacher of the Year award, according to the Providence Journal.
The photo he posted to Facebook has been “liked” and shared thousands of times since Friday.