Georgina Beyer (November 1957 – March 2023)
The world’s first openly transgender person to become a member of parliament, Beyer is remembered in New Zealand for her courage, sharp, ribald humour and fierce advocacy of the communities she represented.
The trailblazing MP – a former sex worker, sexual assault survivor, Māori woman and television star – entered parliament in 1999. She won the Wairarapa seat – once considered a rural, conservative stronghold – with a resounding victory and a 32% swing to Labour. Having served her community as mayor for five years, Beyer won over constituents with a straight-talking, upfront style and a constant presence at community events. In parliament, she became a force on behalf of the queer community, helping push forward progressive law reform on sex work and civil unions, often despite fierce opposition.
Portait taken near her home in Wellington, New Zealand