Kia Puāwai is saddened to hear the news of the passing of Georgina Beyer.
The world’s first openly transgender MP, Georgina (Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Porou) served as mayor of Carterton for five years, from 1995, before being elected as MP for Wairarapa for Labour.
As an MP, Georgina played a pivotal role decriminalising prostitution, credited with changing a handful of votes on the bill which passed 60 votes to 59.
In 2001, she supported the passage of the Human Rights Amendment Act, which added sexual orientation to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination under New Zealand law.
Georgina also championed the Civil Union Act 2004 which allowed same-sex couples to enterinto a civil union for the first time. She later left Parliament in 2007.
She used her own experiences as a transgender person to raise awareness and promote greater understanding of rights and issues, and worked to break down stereotypes and misconceptions about the LGBTQI+ community.
In 2020, Georgina was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the rainbow community.
A courageous trailblazer who paved the way for many others, Georgina is a taonga.