If you’ve been on Facebook at all over the past week or so, chances are good that you’ve come across a picture of Nikos Giannopoulos. You might not know his name, but you’ll definitely know his face–Giannopoulos is a special education teacher who was selected as Rhode Island’s Teacher of the Year, an honor that includes a trip to the White House and a snapshot with the President of the United States. Here’s the photo:
According to the Washington Post, Giannopoulos borrowed his partner’s fan for his trip down to D.C., which is significantly hotter than Rhode Island, and paired it with an LGBTQ rainbow pin and gold anchor necklace (to represent Rhode Island) for his meeting with Donald Trump. (Trump, for what it’s worth, told Ginnopoulos that he had “great style” when he saw the fan, which is just about the only insightful thing Mr. Trump has said throughout his entire presidency.)
When a presidential aide noticed the fan, they asked him to put it away for the private photo. Giannopoulos told them he really wanted to pose with it for the photo. They told him once again that he needed to put it away, so he did–for a second. Right before the shutter snapped, he asked Trump if he minded if he had the fan out for the picutre. Trump said it was fine (because, I guess, what else was he going to say?), which allowed the photo you’ve seen circulating around the internet to come into existence. This, Giannopoulos said, allowed him to be “visibly queer in the Oval Office.”
This is a small act of defiance, it is true, but a pretty noteworthy one. Giannopoulos could have skipped the meeting with Trump–as he would have been totally justified in doing–in solidarity with the dozen or so transgender students he says attends his school and feel “nervous” about the Trump administration. But showing up, and being “visibly queer,” as he said, helps promote visibility for the LGBTQ community in a White House that seems intent on making visibility for this community as difficult to attain as possible. And that, of course, we’re all for.
Anyone who woke up from a 2 year coma and was shown this picture would 100% think it was a new CBS sitcom. pic.twitter.com/hsdsyP9TRx
— Benjamin Siemon (@BenjaminJS) June 18, 2017
Let’s get a season order on that, stat.
What do you think of this picture? Do you think it’s a good form of protest? Let us know in the comments!