R.I.’s Teacher of the Year poses with fan in picture with president

WASHINGTON (WHDH) — Rhode Island’s Teacher of the Year is now going viral for his pose and attire in his picture with President Donald Trump.

Nikos Giannopolous is a special education teacher at the Beacon Charter High School for the Arts in Woonsocket. When he was named Rhode Island’s Teacher of the Year, he received a trip to the White House in April. Giannopolous came to the White House carrying a black lace fan, a gift his husband got him from Venice. He said no one seemed to notice the fan or how he was dressed as he passed through security.

“I’m an openly-queer person and my entire life I haven’t really fit in with the standard narrative of what it means to express your gender as male,” said Giannopolous.

When Giannopolous went to pose with the president and first lady, he took out the fan for the picture. He said he was not trying to send a message or be defiant, he was simply being himself.

“That’s what makes me unique. That’s what makes me special and that’s something that my students love me for, so I feel totally privileged to be able to express myself openly and authentically,” said Giannopolous.

Giannopolous said Trump told him, “Oh, I like the fan” when he took it out and even said it was alright to use in the picture when an aide asked the teacher to put it away.

Giannopolous said he is open to having a conversation with Trump about the importance of LGBTQ rights in America.

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