Rest in peace Georgina Beyer

Rest in peace Georgina Beyer

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 not sure if she supported 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.

2021-2022 annual report

2021-2022 annual report

Check out some key activities we did in 2021 below, or see our 2021-2022 Annual Report to find out more.

Core priority areas for 2021

1. Wrap around support.
2. Healthcare.
3. Housing.
4. Identity Documents.
5. Connectedness.
6. Sexual violence prevention.

We provided 1:1 peer support over 2,000 times, and there were over 600 visits to our Wellington drop in centre. Our website was visited over 101,000 times with 209,000 page views.

Our healthcare referral system was used over 6,000 times, and we received over 1,100 referrals from healthcare providers across the country. Our HRT guide was read over 5,000 times. We also trained over 500 healthcare workers, particularly in mental health and addictions.

Our Rainbow Housing NZ group grew by 500 members to 3,100+, Housing was an area which suffered greatly due to covid 19, so this year much of our work in this area was in supporting individuals to find housing.

We held a successful campaign to pass the BDMRR Bill for self determination/self ID on birth certificates. Our resources were read 15,600+ times, we distributed 100’s of pamphlets and posters, the community turned out amazing submissions, and the law was passed. Our guide to updating your birth certificate sex marker updates was also read 2,000+ times, and a member of our staff became a Justice of the Peace to witness birth certificate documents.

We facilitated connectedness for 2,100+ trans people, whānau, and supporters in our online Transgender and Intersex NZ group, our “trans 101” resource was read more than 42,000 times (15,000 more times than in 2020), and our main parents resource was read more than 1,000 times (double 2020).

We released 6 new healthy relationships and sexual violence prevention resources in 2021. We also began work with Intersex Aotearoa on a joint project – ARC (Anti-violence Resource Centre) which will launch in 2022. We worked on the government’s National strategy to eliminate family violence and sexual violence, together with other members of the Rainbow Violence Prevention Network (RVPN).

Submission on the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill

Submission on the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill

The Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill submissions close tonight at 11.59pm, 9 December 2021.

There is still time to make a submission, even if it’s as simple as saying “Please name transgender people as a priority group. We don’t want to be lumped into ‘rainbow’, we want our unique disparities addressed and our unique needs taken care of”.

Our submission

We agree with and support the intent of this Bill. However, we feel that amendments are needed and that transgender people, as a population facing severe health inequities and unique health needs, should be named as a priority population in order to fully achieve the purpose of the Bill. These inequities particularly affect irawhiti Māori, who are marginalised within the healthcare system as Māori and as transgender people.

Transgender healthcare

The Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation recognise social determinants of health as the most significant factor contributing to the health outcomes faced by particular populations. Māori, Pacific peoples, and disabled people are all groups who face discrimination across all areas of life, which is why they are priority populations in the new health system. In addition to this, disabled people have unique healthcare needs. Transgender people also experience extensive discrimination: the median income for transgender people is half that of the general population; they are more than twice as likely to experience discrimination than the general population; one in five transgender people experience homelessness; transgender people experience high or very high psychological distress at nine times the rate of the general population. For Māori, Pacific peoples, and disabled transgender people, the disparities with the general population are notably higher. For example, one in four non-Pākehā transgender people have been homeless, and 60% of disabled transgender people have experienced discrimination in the past year. 

Transgender people also have a unique relationship with the healthcare system, resulting in a considerable number of unmet specific needs. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health is clear that gender affirming healthcare is a medical necessity. Despite this, national data shows that the healthcare system has been unable to meet the needs of the transgender population. The 2019 Counting Ourselves survey asked transgender people throughout Aotearoa about their access to various gender affirming healthcare treatments, including: hormone replacement therapy, mastectomies/chest reconstruction, breast augmentation, permanent hair removal, mental health support, facial feminisation, voice therapy or surgery, orchiectomies, hysterectomies/oopherectomies and genital reconstruction surgeries. In all cases, there were high rates of unmet need (19-48%), and the recurring reasons for the unmet needs were cost, and a lack of clarity about the healthcare pathways available for accessing treatment.

Tan et al. in their study on the mental health of transgender New Zealanders conclude that:

“Transgender people have greater healthcare needs due to gender minority stress experiences and their need for gender-affirming medical interventions, and yet our findings suggest that they experience inequities and gaps in accessing both gender-affirming and mental health services. It is very concerning that healthcare services, which should be supporting transgender people during some of the most difficult times of their lives, may present obstacles to accessing medically necessary healthcare, may exacerbate mental health symptoms through gender minority stress and pathologisation models, or may be avoided for fear of unhelpful and non-inclusive treatments.”

Other research highlights harmful trends in the provision of gender affirming healthcare, demonstrating a consistent tendency for healthcare practitioners to employ an outdated pathologising model, where patients were expected to prove that they are ‘trans enough’ to access treatment, and transgender patients feel pressured to fit into a binary idea of gender to receive healthcare. These trends are at odds with the Health and Disability Act, which requires a healthcare code of rights that guarantees healthcare services to provide treatment of an adequate standard, and “in a manner which respects the dignity and independence of the individual.” Further, it is more specifically a violation of the current Code of Health and Disability Rights, which specifies assumed competence as a foundational part of informed consent in healthcare. This reveals a systemic inconsistency between transgender people’s rights within healthcare, and the standard of care provided in Aotearoa. The Human Rights Commission’s Prism Report highlights unmet healthcare needs as a critical human rights issue faced by Rainbow New Zealanders, and commented at length about the high rates of unmet need for gender affirming healthcare.

The recent bill to ban conversion practices makes exceptions for healthcare practitioners, despite the many transgender people and organisations (including Gender Minorities Aotearoa and the Professional Association for Transgender Healthcare Aotearoa) who submitted that transgender people often experience conversion practices in healthcare settings so that legal exceptions for healthcare providers leaves them vulnerable to those practices. Research from New Zealand has connected these experiences of conversion practices in healthcare settings with higher levels of psychological distress and discrimination. The disparities faced by transgender people in the healthcare system are clear and well-documented, yet still transgender people are overlooked in the Government’s Health and Disability System Review. 

At the highest level, transgender healthcare is invisible in the government’s health system review, and neglected in legislation. At an intermediate level, transgender people face barriers around accessing healthcare due to unclear or non-existent pathways, and a lack of funding for necessary treatments. At the ground level, transgender people regularly encounter healthcare providers who do not understand their needs, and who subject them to pathologising frameworks which violate their rights. Leadership is urgently needed to address these barriers and the adverse health outcomes they cause.


Transgender people should be named as a priority population for Health NZ. This should be reflected by the inclusion of a transgender healthcare strategy as part of the Minister’s responsibilities in Section 10.1(a) and 29.1(b), and by adding a new Section after Section 40 which outlines the contents and process of a transgender health strategy in a similar manner as the Hauora Māori, Pacific peoples and disability health strategies.

This bill should include explicit reference to the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994. The Code of Rights within healthcare settings set out by the Health and Disability Commissioner should be added to the objectives in Sections 12 and 18, as well as the role of the Minister of Health in creating Government Policy Statements for all priority populations.

Make your submission

Transgender and Rainbow Housing NZ

Transgender and Rainbow Housing NZ

We run the national transgender housing support service. This includes support with accessing emergency housing, transitional housing, and council housing. It also includes the national LGBTQI+ Rainbow Housing NZ group online. Our rainbow housing network was established in 2017, and has over 2,800 members in 2021.

If you need support with emergency housing, contact us to discuss your situation and the options available to you in your area.

If you’re looking for a room in an established transgender-friendly home, or if you have a room to offer in yours, visit Rainbow Housing NZ by clicking the image below.

Button: link to Rainbow Housing NZ

Help transgender people find housing

If you would like to help us support transgender people to find safe housing, you can set up an easy monthly donation using the buttons below, or visit our donations page for more options.

Transgender housing and homelessness research

You can find New Zealand based research on transgender people and housing by visiting our research page at the link below.

Supporting transgender people: online course

Supporting transgender people: online course

Gender Minorities Aotearoa is offering a free online course, Supporting Transgender People. This course is designed to increase your knowledge of issues affecting transgender people in Aotearoa, and to build your confidence in speaking about these issues and supporting transgender people. It is a 101 course and suitable for people with any level of knowledge on transgender issues.

The course takes 2 to 3 hours to complete, and is broken into 3 sessions. You can stop at any time and continue later by logging in again. There are links to further reading at the end of some sections – these are optional and are not included in the time allocation.

This course is suitable for families, friends, supporters, and professional development. A certificate of completion is issued at the end of the course.

What each chapter covers

By the end of chapter 1. you will be able to:

    1. Differentiate between gender, sex characteristics, and sex assigned at birth.
    2. Explain the meaning of words like transgender, cisgender, and non-binary.
    3. Talk about the difference between intersex and transgender.

By the end of chapter 2. you will be able to:

    1. Understand how stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination interact.
    2. Distinguish between discrimination in public life and private life.
    3. Recognise the impact of discrimination across multiple areas of life.
    4. Recognise physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and social impacts of discrimination.

By the end of chapter 3. you will be able to:

    1. Name protective factors which assist trans peoples well-being.
    2. Identify ways to support trans people in your personal life.
    3. Identify ways to support trans people in their public life.
    4. Find more information.

Content warning: this course discusses stigma, discrimination, and violence experienced by transgender and intersex people. Some content may be distressing.

The Tindall Foundation

This course was made with support from The Tindall Foundation