Georgina Beyer, the world’s first openly transgender MP, has died at the age of 65, her friends confirmed in a Facebook post on 6 March.
“Georgie was surround by her nearest and dearest 24/7 over the past week, she accepted what was happening, was cracking jokes and had a twinkle in her eye, right until the final moment,” Scotty Kennedy wrote.
“Farewell Georgie, your love, compassion and all that you have done for the Rainbow and many other communities will live on for ever.”
In 1995, Georgina was elected mayor of Carterton in New Zealand, becoming the world’s first openly trans mayor.
She eventually became the first openly trans MP and discussed the “historic” nature of this in her maiden speech in 1999.
“This is a first not only in New Zealand, ladies and gentlemen, but also in the world,” she said. “This is an historic moment. We need to acknowledge that this country of ours leads the way in so many aspects. We have led the way for women getting the vote. We have led the way in the past, and I hope we will do so again in the future in social policy and certainly in human rights.”
Prior to getting involved with politics, Georgina had worked as an actor, drag performer, sex worker and radio host.
“Georgina showed tremendous courage in stepping into public life”
Helen Clark, a former Prime Minister of New Zealand, was among those who paid tribute to the trailblazing politician.
“Georgina broke new ground in becoming the world’s first openly transgender Member of Parliament,” she said.
“Her election [as mayor of Carterton] 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.
“Georgina showed tremendous courage in stepping into public life. She published a book about her past and the public warmed to her honesty.”