June is LGBT Pride Month, but President Trump has failed to recognize it as such, despite being declared the “most gay-friendly Republican nominee for president ever.” In reality, though, “since taking office, Donald Trump has pushed an agenda that is designed to destroy lives and roll back progress,” according to Rea Carey, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force. “Everything he has done is detrimental to marginalized communities. His executive orders and actions dehumanize and devalue entire communities of people — including trans children, people of color, and women.” So, if Trump is going to ignore Pride Month, Pride Month is going to have to come to him.
After being named Rhode Island’s 2017 Teacher of the Year, Nikos Giannopoulos visited the White House and posed for a photo with President Trump and First Lady Melania in the Oval Office… while holding a black lace fan and wearing a rainbow LGBTQ pride pin on his jacket.
Trump apparently “loved” the fan, according to self-described “very sassy person” Giannopoulos, who he also praised for his “great style.” But when he was ushered into the Oval Office for a photo with the president and First Lady, “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.” Is Trump secretly more progressive than we’re giving him credit for? Not exactly:
In previous years, state teachers of the year were given the opportunity to speak to the president for a few minutes each. Had I been 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. Taking pride in queer identity means rejecting the shame imposed upon us by a harsh society. It means opening yourself up to a lifetime of criticism and misunderstanding, but knowing that it’s worth it to be able to live authentically. Each and every queer person has been confronted with cruelty in ways many cannot imagine – verbal and physical abuse from strangers, friends, & even family; politicians callously attacking on our right to love or merely exist in public spaces; legalized discrimination for daring to be who we are. Brutality is a universal part of the queer experience. (Via)
Giannopoulos told NPR that since the photo has gone viral, he’s gotten a “really positive response. From younger people, I get a lot of, ‘You’re my hero!’ And a lot of ‘Werk Kween!’ which makes my day.” Maybe in 2018, the Orange Person can say “yas queen” to recognizing Pride Month.