While President Trump was trying his best to assert his alpha-male dominance to NATO leaders, the partners of the presidents and prime ministers in attendance were touring the Royal Castle of Laeken. The group took several photos together on May 25 including one that’s become cause for celebration: it features the First Gentleman of Luxembourg, Gauthier Destenay, who is the husband of Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.
Predictably, there were people on the internet who couldn’t help but make hateful, homophobic comments about Destenay. Some not-so-subtly-sexist news coverage even seemed to suggest a man joining the “WAGS” of world leaders was something to chuckle over. But the overwhelming sentiment online was celebratory.
Some even thought of a new term to replace “First Lady.”
@SteveKopack We could change that to “First Spouses” since there will surely be more women and gay men world leaders in the future.
– jane (@thejanegang) May 26, 2017
Bettel and Destenay married in 2015 when Luxembourg legalized gay marriage and were in a civil union before that. Destenay is an architect in Belgium.
Though the news of a prime minister having a partner might come as a surprise to some, Bettel and Destenay have never hidden their relationship for political purposes. Bettel also made it a point not to label himself as a “gay candidate” when he ran for the position in 2013. “I have just one life, and I don’t want to hide my life. But I was not the ‘gay candidate. . .’ People didn’t vote for me because I’m gay or I’m straight,” he said to the Los Angeles Times.
While Bettel is currently the only openly gay world leader, he is not the first one; former Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo and former Icelandic Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurõardóttir were open as well.
People should start getting used to seeing more photos like this as the world continues to move towards LGBTQ and gender equality.