What did Trump think when Nikos Giannopoulos made a bold statement of LGBT nonconformity when he cracked his fan in the Oval Office?
For the past years fans have become a mainstay accessory of gay men everywhere. You’ve seen that twink whip one out of his murse or even heard the crack of a rugged muscle bear opening his fan while dancing to the beat.
For many of us, the sight of a fan makes us cringe and its sound makes us want to crack it—in half. But not today. Today—we’ve never been so happy to see a fan’s lacy half-moon face proudly smiling at us and would love to hear the clack of that fan cracking open in the Oval Office. Werk Kween!
Nikos Giannopoulos is Rhode Island’s Teacher of the Year
The man in this campy picture is Rhode Island teacher, Nikos Giannopoulos, 29, an openly gay special ed teacher at Beacon Charter High School for the Arts. Named Rhode Island’s 2017 Teacher of the Year, Nikos was to go to the White House, with the rest of the nation’s teachers of the year.
Nikos Giannopoulos’ campy Oval Office picture in the White House with President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump is an epic ode to Queer culture.
The picture—as if staged and styled by John Waters himself—is a satisfyingly campy ode to Queer culture. The sassy special ed teacher is standing there proud with a smug look on his face, which is pieced with a nose ring. He is holding a delicate black lace fan with a rainbow LGBTQ pin on the lapel of a blue print jacket. He wears a silver and gold 80s style necklace adorned with an anchor—a nod to Rhode Island—in stark contrast to Trump’s bright red power-tie. The president and first lady are both smiling and posing like they’ve posed countless times before.
“But ultimately, I have been visibly gay my entire life; I was more feminine than a lot of boys and I carried myself in a non-traditional gender expression,” Nikos told NPR in an interview “And I got a lot of flak for it. As a boy, I think I internalized that and didn’t embrace that part of me. Now, as an adult, I adjusted to my queer identity. So the fan represents self-acceptance and being unabashedly myself in a society that’s not always ready to accept that.”
What did President Trump think about the fan in this photo?
“Oh, he loved it!” Nikos continued. “I popped it open when I walked into the office because I’m a very sassy person. And [President] Trump complimented it right away. He said, “I love the fan!” And he told me I had great style. Then, when I was ushered in for my private photo with the president and Melania [Trump] I was told I should put it away. So I just folded it up and held it at my side. But when it came time for the photo, I just asked the president, “Do you mind if I use the fan for the photo?” He said, “Absolutely go for it.” So I popped my fan and did my pose.”