Nikos Giannopoulus wearing a black suit, gold collar, a pin with the LGBT community flag, and with a lace fan is right next to the president of the United States of America, Donald Trump, and his wife Melania Trump in this picture that became viral this month. Right in the middle of Gay Pride month and after the fact that the polemic president rejected to do the usual “pride declaration” just like his predecessor Barak Obama, Nikos Giannopoulus from Rhode Island, chosen as professor of the year in his state, was invited to the Oval Office, with some of his colleagues.
At the Beacon Charter High School for the Arts, where he works and teaches special education, he collaborated with several transsexual students to write a list of rules about the use of bathrooms at school after Trump revoked the order from Obama’s administration that obliged institutions that receive federal funds to respect the gender identity of trans people.
Choosing what to wear to this reunion, Giannopoulus had a very clear idea, according to his Facebook profile. He wanted to represent his gratitude to the LGBT community: “They have taught me to be proud, bold, and strong about my identity, even if the circumstances make it difficult”. With the gold collar, lace fan, and the multicolored pin he wanted to “celebrate the joy and freedom of gender non-conformity”.
“I opened the fan as soon as I came into the office because I’m a very sassy person. And Trump made a compliment immediately. He told me I had a great sense of style and they lead me in to take a private photograph with the president and Melania”, he says. “When it was time for the photo, I simply asked the president: “do you mind if I use the fan for the photo?' He said, 'Absolutely go for it.' So I popped my fan and did my pose”.
There is only one thing he regrets not telling the president of the USA: “the pride I feel for being American comes from the freedom to be open and honest about who I am and who I love”.
This is how Nikos became a viral character in social media. His pose, sassiness, and pride got immortalized in a photograph that is now pride for the LGBT community.