Saturday, October 7, 2023

New leader of the left-wing opposition in Greece breaks a taboo by disclosing surrogacy plans

Athens, Greece, October 7, 2023.
Via: AFP.

Athens, Greece, 05 Oct. 2023. Newly elected Greece's opposition leftist SYRIZA party leader Stefanos Kasselakis (L) and his husband Tyler McBeth (R) attend a political rally for the October 8 regional and local elections. Kasselakis replaced former PM Alexis Tsipras, who resigned from the party's  top position following the defeat in the parliamentary elections earlier this year. Kasselakis, is the first openly gay party leader in the country. Credit: Photo by Dimitris Aspiotis/Shutterstock



The new leader of Greece’s opposition has said he and his long-term male partner would like to become parents through surrogacy, a move that challenges taboo in the country.

The first elected official in Greece to openly declare he is gay, Stefanos Kasselakis last month achieved one of the biggest upsets in Greek political history by winning the leadership of Syriza, the left-wing main opposition party.

Until now a little-known former shipping exec and ex-Goldman Sachs trader, 35-year-old Kasselakis is in a civil partnership with American nurse Tyler McBeth.

“We would like to have two boys, Apollo and Elias… through a surrogate mother,” Kasselakis told Alpha TV late on Thursday.

“As a society, we need to provide complete equality,” he said.

“I hope my example will serve as a wake-up call for parents, to learn to talk to their children…and respect their will.”

The issue remains taboo in a country still built around the traditional family model, and where the powerful Orthodox Church frowns on same-sex relations.

Whilst in government in 2015, Syriza introduced same-sex civil partnerships in Greece. But marriage, adoption and surrogacy remain outside the law.

Last month, conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said full equality would be extended to same-sex couples during his next four years in power.

Kasselakis told Kathimerini daily in another interview last month, that as a student he had visited a monastery in Evia where had been baptised “and prayed not to be gay.

Kasselakis said he was in a relationship with a woman in 2012 when he began struggling with his sexuality.

He eventually came out to his parents at the age of 31 four years ago, he said.

“Meeting Tyler urged me to express myself,” he said.

In the Alpha TV interview, he said he was “very wealthy” by Greek standards.

“In theory I have enough, to not need to work in my life again, though not enough to spend recklessly,” he said.

Kasselakis’ business background is anathema to many Syriza cadres, many of whom were in the 2015 Syriza government that unsuccessfully battled against the austerity imposed by Greece’s EU-IMF creditors during the country’s ten-year financial crisis.