President Donald Trump’s administration has yet to acknowledge June as Pride Month, but one teacher from Rhode Island made sure to make his LGBTQ+ pride known when he was invited to the White House along with other state teachers of the year in April. Nikos Giannopoulos recently shared a photo of his visit to Washington DC on his Facebook page, and it’s going viral for all the right reasons. Shortly after the visit, Giannopoulos wrote about his White House experience, explaining why he wore his Pride pin to meet President Trump.
“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 shared without ever mentioning Trump’s name. “I wore a blue jacket with a bold print and carried a black lace fan to celebrate the joy and freedom of gender nonconformity.”
Unfortunately, Giannopoulos didn’t get a chance to speak to Trump one-on-one, but he did reveal what he would have said to the current commander in chief if 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.”
Since sharing the now-viral photo of himself holding a black lace fan next to Trump and First Lady Melania, Giannopoulos has received thousands of “likes” and hundreds of comments from people online praising his courage to be true to himself, even if the White House seems to have turned a cold shoulder to LGBTQ+ issues under Trump’s presidency.