Georgina Beyer, the world’s first openly transgender MP, dies at the age of 65

Georgina Beyers smiles at a red carpet event.

New Zealand politician Georgina Beyer, the world’s first openly transgender MP, has died at the age of 65.

She died on Monday (March 6) after being admitted to a hospice in Wellington.

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said Beyer “blanked a trail” that made it “much easier for others to be a trans politician”.

Current Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty described her as a “beloved family member, loyal friend, passionate advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community and local politician powerhouse”.

Beyer has battled kidney disease for more than a decade, although the cause of death has not yet been reported.

Georgina Beyer made history as the world’s first trans MP

Georgina Beyer broke new ground in the 1999 New Zealand general election when she won the Wairarapa seat by 3,033 votes.

She had been elected mayor of Carterton a year earlier. She resigned from that post in 2000, which she later described as one of her greatest regrets.

Georgina Beyers speaks during an event.
Pioneering politician Georgina Beyer has died at the age of 65. (Getty)

In her inaugural speech, Beyer referred to the “number of firsts” that the election brought with it.

“Our first Rastafarian (Nándor Tánczos), our first Polynesian woman (Luamanuvao Winnie Laban) – and yes, I have to say, I am the first transgender person in New Zealand [and the world] to stand in this House of Parliament.

“This is a historic moment. We have to recognize that our country is a leader in so many aspects.”

Georgina Beyer was re-elected as a Wairarapa MP in 2002, doubling her majority and remaining in Parliament until 2007.

Her progressive politics included fighting for LGBTQ+ rights and for the rights of sex workers – a profession she had worked in while being part of Wellington’s queer nightclub scene.

Throughout her career, she has spoken at a number of events to advance the rights of LGBTQ+ people worldwide, including the first two international conferences on LGBTQ+ human rights in 2006 and 2009.

She was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2013 and received a transplant in 2017. Since then she has had dialysis four times a day.

Close friend Scott Kennedy said that after Beyer was admitted to the hospital, he “accepted what was happening.”

Kennedy added: “[She] was joking and had a twinkle in his eye. At Georgie’s request, there will be no funeral service. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

“Farewell Georgie, your love, compassion and all you have done for the rainbow and many other communities will live on forever.”

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Adam Bradshaw

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