The White House Omits Luxembourg Leader's Same-Sex Partner From Its Photo
The Trump White House took a page from the book of every millennial traveler and made a Facebook album of his first international trip. From meeting with the Pope to NATO leaders in Brussels, every moment has been documented for posterity's sake on the official White House page. Entitled "President Trump's Trip Abroad," the 97 photos are supposed to showcase his foreign policy chops during a stressed moment of his presidency. But the pictures had a different effect when Facebook users noticed the White House omitted the same-sex partner of Luxembourg's leader Prime Minister Xavier Bettel from the photo.
First gentleman of Luxembourg, Gauthier Destenay, was pictured with the other NATO spouses, all of whom are women, at the NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday. The photo initially drew praise with lots of positive coverage in the press and on social media. But then the Trump administration left him out of the official Facebook caption when they uploaded the photo onto the social media platform. Instead Melania's name was listed twice. Here's the initial caption:
First Lady Melania Trump poses with Belgium’s Queen Mathilde, center, and other spouses of Nato leaders: First Lady Emine Erdoğan of Turkey; Iceland’s Thora Margret Baldvinsdottir; the First Lady of France Brigitte Trogneux; First Lady Melania Trump; Slovenia’s Mojca Stropnik; Bulgaria’s Desislava Radeva; Belgium’s Amélie Derbaudrenghien, and Norway’s Ingrid Schulerud, during their visit Thursday 25 May 2917 [sic], at the Royal Palace in Brussels.
As you may notice, the omission of Destenay's name is not the only issue. The first lady of France's name is Brigitte Macron; Trogneux is her maiden name, which she does not use. Also the year is 2017, not 2917. It would thus seem the error could be completely unintentional. The photo was taken by White House photographer Andrea Hanks, and the caption has since been edited. Bustle has reached out for comment.
The initial error led to some negative reactions on Facebook. One user, Nick Jackman, wrote, "The omission of the the First Gentleman of Luxembourg name is blatantly disrespectful and just goes to show the level of idiotacy [sic] of this White House staff." And it wasn't just frustrated individuals. GLAAD, an NGO that follows how LGBTQ people are portrayed in the media also commented. "What about Luxembourg's openly gay First Husband?" the group asked with their official account.
Prime Minister Bettel became the first European Union leader to marry a same-sex spouse when he wed Destenay in May of 2015. This was just months after the small European nation between Belgium, France, and Germany legalized marriage between opposite sex couples. Bettel and Destenay's marriage, however, was not the first gay wedding for a head of state. Iceland's former Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir married her wife Jónína Leósdóttir in 2010.
Destenay's appearance in the photo was an important step for international recognition of marriage equality, and the White House needs to make sure it includes same-sex couples in the future — even on Facebook. This mistake may have been an honest one, but must not happen again.