Fan steals the show as teacher vis­its Oval of­fice

The Guardian - - INTERNATIONAL - Martin Pen­gelly and agen­cies Pho­to­graph: Shealah Craig­head/ Of­fi­cial White House

A Rhode Is­land teacher who be­came a star on so­cial me­dia af­ter dis­play­ing LGBT pride in a pho­to­graph taken with Don­ald Trump in the Oval Of­fice said he had wanted to tell the pres­i­dent “an­tiLGBTQ poli­cies have a body count”.

Nikos Giannopou­los, a spe­cial-ed­u­ca­tion teacher in Woonsocket, vis­ited the White House in April with other award-win­ning teach­ers and briefly met the pres­i­dent and first lady, but had no chance to talk. It was not un­til last Thurs­day that he posted to his Face­book page a photo that shows him in the of­fi­cial photo, above, wear­ing a rain­bow badge and wav­ing a lacy black fan.

By Fri­day af­ter­noon it had been shared thou­sands of times on var­i­ous so­cial me­dia plat­forms.

In a post three days af­ter the White House visit, Giannopou­los wrote: “When I met the pres­i­dent … I did not know what to ex­pect. He did not rise from his seat to present the Na­tional Teacher of the Year with her much de­served award nor did he al­low her to speak.” Af­ter the cer­e­mony, press re­ports de­tailed dis­sat­is­fac­tion among the teach­ers and fam­i­lies about the way the White House con­ducted the visit.

Trump cam­paigned as a friend to LGBT vot­ers, though gov­ern­ment fig­ures in­clud­ing vice-pres­i­dent Mike Pence and at­tor­ney gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions are viewed with scep­ti­cism by LGBT cam­paign­ers.

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