World’s first transgender MP honoured

By Taroi Black

Georgina Beyer has been made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to LGBTIQA+ rights.

“I am very proud and I hope it represents the many people who have helped me in the struggle,” she says.

The investitures were held at Government House in Wellington where the former politician was accompanied by her kidney donor, Grant Pittams, and the team of health professionals who saved her life when she developed life-threatening kidney disease. She said she invited them because "without them most certainly I wouldn't have recovered.”

Beyer (Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Porou) began her political career in 1995 when she was elected mayor of Carterton and served for five years.

Wairarapa MP

During her fourth year she ran for the 1999 general elections as a Labour MP for Wairarapa, serving as an electorate MP for two terms before moving to the Labour list for her third term. a for three terms, and ensured the future was bright and colourful for the Rainbow community nationwide.

In 2002 she led mahi in Parliament help decriminalise sex work which polarised the country and led to impassioned debate. But she won and the legislation passed. 

She also campaigned for the Civil Union Bill, which finally passed in 2005.

Her breakthrough three terms for Labour led to many milestones, with this year's elections resulting in New Zealand having the queerest Parliament in the world. 

List MP Louisa Wall who introduced the Same-Sex Marriage Bill in 2012, said Beyer "started the process to have gender identity included in our human rights legislation as a ground of discrimination or non-discrimination .”