Trailblazing Georgina Beyer Dedicated to Community

Georgina Beyer, a former actor, drag performer, sex worker and radio host who pulled off a surprise victory as a Labour MP and later played a pivotal role in decriminalising prostitution, has died in Wellington, aged 65.

Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark has led tributes to Beyer, the world’s first openly transgender MP, Australian Associated Press reports in a story published by The Guardian.

Clark said Beyer “showed tremendous courage” stepping into public life and “the public warmed to her honesty”.

“Her election speaks volumes about both Georgina’s personal skills and dedication to community service and the district’s willingness to accept her on her merits without discrimination,” Clark said.

After moving back to New Zealand from Australia, Beyer grew interested in a political career and in 1995, won the mayoralty in Carterton, a farming hub.

“It’s less of a reflection on me but a wonderful reflection on them – rural conservative New Zealand. Who would have thought?” Beyer told the NZ Herald in a 2018 interview.

In parliament, Beyer wasted no time displaying her now-legendary wit, drawing laughs from all sides of the house in her maiden speech.

“I was quoted once as saying this was the stallion that became a gelding and now she’s a mare,” she said.

“I do have to say that I have now found myself to be a member. So I have come full circle.”

Original article by Australian Associated Press, The Guardian, March 6, 2023.

Photo by New Zealand Government, Office of the Governor-General.

Tags: Georgina Beyer  Guardian (The)  

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