Georgina Beyer
Georgina Beyer
2 min read

A transgender trailblazer who became the first openly transgender mayor and MP has died.

Politician and performer Georgina Beyer whose career politically and in the broader media broke unprecedented ground for transgender people in New Zealand and across the globe has died after a long illness.

Recognised in the New Zealand 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours for her services to the LGBTQ+ community, Ms Beyer entered politics in the early 1990s and was elected to the New Zealand lower north island Carterton District Council in a 1993 by-election. She was elected Mayor of the Council in 1995 and held office for five years.


In the 1999 NZ general election, she was elected as a Member of Parliament for Wairarapa, holding the seat for two terms, and continuing from 2005 to 2007 as a list MP.

She was the first transgender mayor in world history and the world’s first transgender person to be elected to Parliamentary office.

Ms Beyer delivered presentations at several international conferences, including the First International Conference on LGBT Rights in Montreal in 2006 and more recently in 2018, she presented at both Oxford and Cambridge Unions.

Speaking with 1news at the time of her Queen’s Birthday award, Ms Beyer said when she entered the world of politics and nobody gave her a handbook.

“I trailblazed as far as the transgender world is concerned,” Ms Beyer said to 1News.

“I didn’t know how, really to this day, how I managed to navigate my way through. Still produce an output as far as work and my responsibilities were concerned and on the other hand, be a shining beacon for significant minorities to move forward.”


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Since making waves 25 years ago, she said things had changed dramatically in terms of societal norms and laws.

She was a Board member of the New Zealand Aids Foundation from 1997 to 1999.

Prior to her career in politics, she was an openly transgender actor and performer who appeared in a range of primetime television features. Ms Beyer was the subject of the feature-length documentary ‘Georgie Girl’ (2001), which screened internationally.

“Here we are many years down the track from that and the sky’s here, nothing has fallen down. It’s all OK.”

Friends of the trailblazer said she died at 3.30pm on Monday, surrounded by her close friends and family over the past week and that she had accepted what was happening and cracking jokes right until her final moments.

At Beyer’s request, there will be no funeral service, but a memorial service will be held at a later date.

Last Updated on Mar 6, 2023

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