One of these things is not like the other. And it’s no accident.
This would’ve been just another boring Trump photo-op, but the man on the left of the shot decided to make it a bit more memorable.
His name is Nikos Giannopoulos, and he’s quite an impressive guy, having just been named Teacher of the Year for the state of Rhode Island.
Just in case you can’t tell from the photo, he’s also gay. And he wanted you to be able to tell. That’s the whole point.
Giannopoulos decided to give the photo a little flair, so he brought a fan to pose with. He also wore a nose ring and a rainbow flag pin — not things you see every day in Trump’s oval office.
He went on to say that it was a statement on behalf of his students, many of whom are LGBT and nervous about early signs of homophobia from the Trump administration — as the Washington Post noted, Trump took down the LGBT rights page from the White House website, and also revoked legal protection for transgender students.
Giannopoulos — who won his award in part for his work with his school’s gay-straight alliance –wasn’t going to miss this opportunity to do something symbolic. In his own words: “I was visibly queer in the Oval Office, and no one can take that away from me.”
Unsurprisingly, one of Trump’s aides tried to make sure the fan did not appear in the picture.
But, to Trump’s credit, he told Giannopoulos that he had “good style”, and when Giannopolos asked the President himself if he could have the fan in the picture, Trump said simply: “sure”.
And there you have it. Maybe the only time that someone will upstage Melania in an official photo. Well done, Mr. Giannopolos. And congratulations.