Donald Trump, objectively, does not have the best track record for promoting LGBT equality, regardless of his personal beliefs or otherwise, which is why the latest viral photo of the current president has so many chuffed.
Last Wednesday, Nikos Giannopoulos (or Mr. G, as his students call him), visited the White House as part of his winning 2017 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year. In his photo opp with Trump and his wife, Melania, Giannopoulos busted out an incredible black lace fan and a pride pin.
On his ensemble, the special education teacher said, "I 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. I wore a blue jacket with a bold print and carried a black lace fan to celebrate the joy and freedom of gender nonconformity. I wore an anchor necklace in honor of the State of Rhode Island whose motto 'Hope' was inspired by Hebrews 6:19 - "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."
Giannopoulos continued in his Facebook post, "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."
While many in the LGBT community see the photo as a subtle defiance of Trump's arguably non-inclusive policies, Giannopoulous, according to NPR, claims the president loved it all. "I popped [the fan] 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!'"
Sure, this photo likely won't sway future policy, but it does send a clear and encouraging message: We're here. We're queer and we're, quite literally, in the White House.