This teacher celebrated the LGBT community in a photo with Trump
A teacher from Rhode Island has slyly celebrated the LGBT community in a picture with President Donald Trump and the First Lady, Melania Trump.
Nikos Giannopoulos visited the White House in April during the Teacher of the Year 2017 awards.
The teacher decided to use the opportunity to send an important message about equality to the president, who is currently rolling back protective policies put in place by the previous administration.
In a picture captured by official photographer Shealah Craighead, Giannopoulos can be seen standing in the oval office with the president and first lady holding a rainbow fan and wearing a rainbow pin.
Giannopoulos, who was awarded Rhode Island Teacher of the Year, has since shared the photograph from the visit in April on Facebook where he explained his tribute to LGBT people.
He wrote: “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.
As well as the rainbow pin, he wore a number of other symbols which nodded to unity between minorities.
“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 honour 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”.
“These words are as relevant now they were when our founding father Roger Williams was inspired by them over 350 years ago,” he added.
Giannopoulos, who teaches algebra, chemistry and filmmaking is also the Gay Straight Alliance coordinator in his school.
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He explained that LGBT rights are an important thing to him, and despite making subtle hints to the importance of equality in the photo he did not get to have a direct conversation with Trump about the matter.
The teacher wrote: “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. Taking pride in queer identity means rejecting the shame imposed upon us by a harsh society.”
He went on to explain that LGBT people face constant discrimination and politicians should be fighting against that, not fuelling it.
“It means opening yourself up to a lifetime of criticism and misunderstanding, but knowing that it’s worth it to be able to live authentically.
“Each and every queer person has been confronted with cruelty in ways many cannot imagine – verbal and physical abuse from strangers, friends, & even family; politicians callously attacking our right to love or merely exist in public spaces; legalised discrimination for daring to be who we are. Brutality is a universal part of the queer experience,” he added.