‘Teacher of the year’ becomes internet sensation with one sassy photo from the Oval Office

Rhode Island Teacher of the Year 2017 meets the 45th President of the United States. That's all. 🌈🌈🌈Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

Posted by Nikos Giannopoulos on Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Trump administration has completely ignored Pride month, but that didn’t stop one teacher from taking Pride directly to the president’s desk himself.

Nikos Giannopoulos earned the distinction of being named Rhode Island’s “teacher of the year,” and that honor came with an invitation to visit the White House. Giannopoulos did not squander his photo op.

Wearing a rainbow LGBTQ pin on his blue print jacket and sporting a gold and silver necklace in lieu of the traditional tie, it’s Giannopoulos’ accent piece that’s really causing a stir. As he gives a sassy smile not two feet away from the first couple, Giannopoulos’ right hand holds a black lace fan. Donald and Melania Trump smile for the camera from behind the president’s desk, and the whole scene is just surreal given the administration’s rocky-at-best relationship with the LGBTQ community.

Related: Trump blocks pro-LGBTQ veterans group on Twitter

“For my trip to the White House, 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,” Giannopoulos explained in a Facebook post in which he chose not to mention the president by name.

He continued: “I wore a blue jacket with a bold print and carried a black lace fan to celebrate the joy and freedom of gender nonconformity. When I think back to my time in the White House, I will not remember the person seated at the desk.”

Rather, he said he’ll remember other teachers who took a stand against “structural barriers of race, gender, socioeconomic status, home language, immigration status, sexual orientation, and much more.”

Related: Trump to honor Pride month by giving a speech at an antigay conference

In an interview with NPR, the 29-year-old teacher was asked what the president thought of the fan. He recounted this bizarre story:

“Oh, he loved it! I popped it open when I walked into the office because I’m a very sassy person. And [President] Trump complimented it right away. He said, ‘I love the fan!’ And he told me I had great style. Then, when I was ushered in for my private photo with the president and Melania [Trump] I was told I should put it away. So I just folded it up and held it at my side. But when it came time for the photo, I just 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.”

Last month, Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said that states should be allowed to decide whether their schools can discriminate against LGBTQ students — even if those schools were given federal money.

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  • Richard 55

    To me, it sounds as if Nick was quite happy to meet the President. Queerty’s interpretation would have you believe otherwise.

    Regarding gender being a barrier, puh-lease. Gender is no barrier except in the minds of certain people, especially those who enjoy being victims.

    Being a male is fundamental to my homosexuality. I don’t want to be transgender or some other invented category. I’m proud of being male. I’m proud of not being transgender.

    • DCguy

      So first you lie about his feelings Because he said ““For my trip to the White House, 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,” ”

      And then you use the post as an excuse to bitch about trans people.

      Yep, just checking, another Trump defending troll.

    • Curtispsf

      @Richard 55 I’m guessing you’re ALSO proud of not being a woman (shudder) or a Lesbian (gasp). IF you’re ACTUALLY gay, may I suggest you return your Rainbow Flag? It’s WAY too inclusive for your tastes. And yes, I’m calling Trump Troll, you silly little queen…and notice, I’m spelling queen with a little “q” kind of like your personality because you DON’T deserve the status of a fabulous Queen. SNAP /|\

    • AJBray

      Who’s ‘Nick’? Did you just read a TOTALLY separate article, one that’s apparently about the (STRONG, AWESOME) transgender community, a crime/homicide (I assume — you mentioned ‘victims’), and some dude named ‘Nick’, then come over here to whine and complain? If so, then there’s the door, honey. –>

      I just read an article about a proud LGBTQ+ person named NIKOS, a name used consistently throughout the article without wavering, and one that shows he’s proud of his heritage. And sass for DAYS! No crimes occurred (well…except maybe the navy blue waistcoat and black fan…), and Nikos stood up for what’s right, our community, and the educational system.

      THANK YOU, NIKOS!!! <3

      BTW, it's douc– …ahem… *individuals* like you, Dick 5.5, that have led to me going by A.J. instead of my full given name. 1) I *LOATHE* the nickname everyone feels it's acceptable to lazily attempt to dub me as soon as they learn my given name. My name is my name, in its entirety, unless I say otherwise, or unless I get it legally changed. 2) I was tired of getting stereotyped by my gender as soon as people saw my name. My genitalia is NOBODY'S BIZ, unless I *make it* their business…and generally speaking, the only time THAT is going to happen is at the doctor. My OH knows what my junk looks like, and that's sufficient.

      The End.

      Now go cry somewhere else about your imaginary friend 'Nick' and your pout about the Trans Sith Lords, or whatever you do, Dude Bro. Bye, Dick 5.5. I have better things to do than figure out why haters gonna hate.

    • batesmotel

      He was happy about meeting the Trumps. Although, what’s with the fan in his hand.

    • Hussain-TheCanadian

      @Richard 55 – Jesus Christ………..is that you Brain??? The only queen I know that hates woman, and for some reason believes every man on the planet is a potential lay…………….. is you Brain – You can change your name, but sh*t……. you cant change those same old tired “arguments” of yours.

      I just assumed you got kidnapped by some straight man, at a bar, you tried to fondle with a feather, and he decided to lock you up in a cabin somewhere. Glad to see that your behind was only banned.

    • Heywood Jablowme

      “I’m proud of being male.” Brian, did your mother ask you once to kill a spider for her? And you ran screaming? (To the truck stop glory hole?) You certainly are a mystery.

  • Oakknot

    Puh-leese, give Nikos credit for resisting the administration’s dissing the LGBTQIA community. As in the face as possible within the context.

  • armyguy71

    If you want to self hate that is fine but just because you don’t identify as trans doesn’t give you the right to be so dismissive of those that do. Isn’t this the whole ideal of what we are trying to fight for in our community is a voice at the table? Equal rights for everyone, not just what you are or how you identify! Maybe you don’t understand trans and that is fine (consider educating yourself) but that certainly gives you no right to attack them or dismiss them. In this manner you are setting back LGBTQ rights along with Trump and his administration. I find myself constantly referencing the poem by Martin Niemöller “..and when they came for me there was nobody left to speak out..”.

  • crowebobby

    “But when it came time for the photo, I just 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.” Come on! Give credit where it is due. No one dislikes Trump more than I do, but there’s no way this can be seen as anything other than ‘one’ for Trump.

    • ShowMeGuy

      Trump knows when to **suck a dick** if it will be of benefit to himself.

      Back to what really matters here……Congrats to Nikos for being named Teacher of the Year in Rhode Island. Unicorn up…..which is even more important when this nation is still a place where being “a gay” can be enough cause for your termination from your teaching job.

  • Xzamilloh

    I don’t see the problem here…. the teacher made his point and according to him, Trump didn’t care. I won’t move on my point that Trump has failed the LGBT community, especially with his cabinet picks. But, give credit where credit is due.

  • batesmotel

    Is he contracted to acknowledge Pride month? I still haven’t acknowledged it because I don’t care. And no one around me cares. There are bigger issues than Pride month. Besides his daughter acknowledged Pride month and the pansy gays trampled on her for saying nice words about Pride and the gays.

    • DarkZephyr

      You can afford “not to care” because of people like the ones that first started marching in pride parades. I’m assuming you’r part of the LGBT community in some way shape or form. You can thank The LGBT activists that started pride for the fact that you can afford such a cavalier attitude about it. You know who you can’t thank for it? Donald J Trump. Or most Republicans. No he is not contractually obligated to mention pride. But we’re not contractually obligated to like him or to refrain from criticizing him when he doesn’t acknowledge it.

  • Stilinski26

    So Trump liked his style and his fan. He even referred to him as President. Poor frustrated writers must be chewing their papers

  • am_psi

    As far as I can tell the only gay person that Trump has ever said a bad word about was Rosie O’Donnell, yet people are acting surprised that he didn’t bury this guy under the White House lawn or something.

    • DarkZephyr

      “yet people are acting surprised that he didn’t bury this guy under the White House lawn or something”

      Don’t be ridiculous, they aren’t behaving that way at all.

      He may not have said anything bad about LGBT people (that we are aware of) on a personal level but he HAS come out against our rights. That IS on record. AND he hires and appoints nearly nothing but homophobes and transphobes. It was very telling for ME when he chose Mike Pence as his running mate after the whole very public and very widely publicized anti-LGBT legislation scandal in Indiana. Mike Pence was disgraced as the homophobe and transphobe that he truly is, destined for a very well deserved obscurity til Trump plucked him out and made him the second most powerful man in America, teaching him that anti-LGBT bigotry pays.

      Being an enemy of the LGBT community isn’t JUST about talking smack about us. Its also about actively doing things that that HURT us.

  • Bellerophon69

    Trump is a classic schitzo; in his personal life, I have no doubt he has friends and possibly even likes and admires Gays. He probably feels a sort of odd “competitiveness” with Lesbians, which leads to some latent hostility, but I bet if a very sexy Transgender dressed up hot bent over or offered him a BJ he’d whip that little 2 1/2 inches out in a heartbeat if he thought he’d get away with it. However, he is a political and social sycophant, so his psyche has adopted (and always has) the stance that turning on and slamming the LGBT community will get him favoritism with the homophobic circle he’s wheeling and dealing with. Historically he’s always been either very much for or very much against us, and props to Nikos, whom I absolutely adore; I’m going to have that picture framed!

  • miserylovedme24

    I’m no Trump fan at all, but I honestly don’t believe he’s homophobic. I never have. I would bet he’s more neutral about it. He just doesn’t really care because it doesn’t affect him. Any of the anti-LGBT stuff that comes out of this administration is probably from the people Trump has chosen to surround himself with. Like Pence.

  • Richard 55

    Trans-genderism is an illusion. It is not real life. My homosexuality is real life. Big difference.

    If you want to live the illusion of trans-genderism, go right ahead. Just don’t expect me – as a male homosexual – to abide by your illusion.


    Sounds to me the President was all for the fan. Sounds to me he was a perfect gentleman and acted presidential about the whole thing by why let that stand in the way of jumping on the anti-Trump bandwagon? For gosh sakes, you might go up in flames if you actually said anything nice about him. I don’t support him 100% but it’s nice to give credit where credit is due.
    Ok everybody, you can start all the name calling and vicious attacks on me just because I didn’t cuss out the President in my comment. Let the hatred and nastiness begin. It’s ok, I’m a strong, proud, masculine gay male, who thinks for himself, and I have a right up my opinions too. I’m used to it.

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