Georgina Beyer, the world’s first openly transgender Mayor and Member of Parliament in recorded history, passed away peacefully at Mary Potter Hospice, 6 March 2023 at 3.30pm.
Our Executive Director Ahi Wi-Hongi wrote a small tribute to her here.
For many, many trans people in Aotearoa, Georgina Beyer was the first – and for some the only – transgender person they ever saw growing up. She inspired so many to accept their own gender, to be proud of who they are, and to insist we deserved more.
For those of us who knew her personally, whether through politics, activism, sex work, or other things, she was a character. Often hilarious, she didn’t have much of a filter and she just said exactly what was on her mind. Whether you agreed with her on the topic or not, you always knew where she stood.
Georgina was a “no nonsense” woman, she believed in “getting on with it”, and she cared deeply about trans people having a fair go. In the early 2000’s she was talking about transgender people needing legal protection from discrimination, and she put forward a Member’s Bill in 2004 to have being transgender added to protected grounds in the NZ Human Rights Act.
The advice in those days was that we were already covered under the HRA sex-based protections, and subsequently she withdrew her Bill. But, here we are in 2023 looking at how it might be made explicit so it can’t be challenged. She was right all along, and we intend to see it through.
In the early 2000’s, Georgina was actually against the Prostitution Reform Bill, but she listened. She knew a lot of sex workers, and right at the end when it was being voted on, she made her raw, impassioned speech in support of the Bill, which many people think of when they think of Georgina. There was no ‘politician-double-speak’ with her, Georgina just said it like she saw it, so people could believe she meant every word she said. Ultimately, the Prostitution Reform Act was passed in 2003, giving legal protection to sex workers so they didn’t have to go through what she, and many others, had in the past.
I think that being direct and honest are lovely things to be remembered by, and while the world remembers her as the first openly transgender Mayor and Member of Parliament, I think her friends will remember her as the funny, soft-hearted, honest, and kind woman she was. We will certainly all remember her as one of a kind.
Rest in peace e hoa.
Read other articles from her friends
This article speaks to Helen Clark and Catherine Healy.
This one is from Chris Carter.
This one is from Louisa Wall.
Georgina did not want a funeral, but a memorial will be held at a future date. You can find updates on this here.