A picture of a "visibly queer" teacher of the year from Rhode Island has gone viral after his Oval Office snapshot with President Donald Trump was hailed as socially significant.
Nikos Giannopoulos, a 29-year-old teacher at Beacon Charter High School for the Arts in Rhode Island, scored a White House visit and a presidential photo op back in April as part of the teacher of the year honor. He only recently received a copy of the picture that's now making headlines.
The image, in which Giannopoulos is fluttering a black lace fan in what's been described as a defiant pose, quickly went viral.
It almost didn't happen, Giannopoulos told The Washington Post.
“I was definitely nervous,” he said. “I didn’t know what the reaction would be.”
An aide initially asked him to put the accessory away before the photo, but Giannopoulos explained that he asked Trump himself if it would be alright to hold it in the photo, and the president didn't object.
“He said I had good style," the teacher told the newspaper.
“The entire day I was thinking about what it means to be in the White House and in the Oval Office,” he continued. “What it represents to be an openly gay person and a queer LGBT person in the White House.”
Though the administration has taken steps to roll back federal protections for transgender students put in place by former President Barack Obama, Trump was hailed as the "most gay-friendly Republican nominee for president ever" by supporters prior to the election.
Many hailed Giannopoulos on Twitter for his "visibly queer" presidential pic.
“Ultimately, we were allowed to do what we wanted,” Giannopoulos told the Post. “I was visibly queer in the Oval Office, and no one can take that away from me.”
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