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Rhode Island teacher in fierce White House photo pushes for LGBT rights under Trump

When Rhode Island’s teacher of the year took his turn in front of the camera with U.S. President Donald Trump in April, he struck a pose some took as an act of defiance:Nikos Giannopoulos cocked his head ever so slightly away from the president, toward a black lace fan he’d brought with him. He wore a rainbow pin on his lapel, a ring through his nose and a gold anchor around his neck.“Bold, Gay Teacher Of The Year Photo Bombs Donald Trump With Fan,” was HuffPost’s first headline (later toned down) after Giannopoulos posted the photo on Facebook on Thursday and quickly amassed thousands of shares.“A fierce pose,” wrote the Daily Mail.Giannopoulos, who only received the photo recently, did not sound fierce on the phone with The Washington Post. His attire in the Oval Office, he explained, was more or less the same style he wore in the classroom at Beacon Charter High School for the Arts, where his work as a special-education teacher won him Rhode Island’s teacher of the year award and a trip to the White House in April.Article Continued Below“The issue with being openly queer is our existence is constantly politicized,” he said. “They never stop to think: Oh, maybe that’s just who I am.”And yet, the teacher acknowledged, there was a certain social significance in his decision to dress as himself to a White House that has revoked federal protections for transgender students, erased an LGBT rights page from its website and hired at least one adviser who appears to believe in gay conversion.Read more:

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