Every year Her Majesty the Queen gives out gongs, these are in the form of Knighthoods, OBE’s (Order of the British Empire), etc. The Queen’s Birthday Honors is a time to reward people form all walks of life that have contributed to the nation, and it’s always a huge story in the British press.
These awards are also given out to people from countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand, where the British Queen is still the head of State. We are delighted to highlight one particular award this year, which has been given to the first ever trans Member of Parliament in New Zealand. Georgina Beyer has been appointed as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, MNZM, in this years Queens Birthday Honors List.
Georgina Beyer is now retired form politics but she started her political life as a Mayor of Carterton from 1995, serving in that role until 2000. This made her the world’s first transgender mayor.
Beyer was selected as the Labour Party’s candidate for the Wairarapa electorate. She surprised the political commentators to win the typically right-leaning electorate with a 3,033-vote majority over former colleague and National candidate Paul Henry, and become the world’s first transgender member of parliament.
At the 2002 election, Beyer re-contested Wairarapa for Labour. She was easily re-elected with an increased majority of 6,372 votes
In a December 2002 interview, Beyer said: “I get asked questions no other politician would ever have to answer. Regarding the surgery, you know. ‘Did it hurt?’, or, ‘When you have sex now as a woman, is it different to how you had sex as a man?’ Well, honey, obviously.”
In her speech to Parliament on the Prostitution Reform Act 2003, Beyer identified herself as a former sex worker. She is credited with influencing three MPs to vote for the Bill, which passed with 60 votes for, 59 against with one abstention.
In early 2004, Beyer announced that she would not stand in the 2005 elections. Tension with her electorate committee, which opposed Beyer’s views on the seabed and foreshore, may also have contributed to the decision.
In September, Beyer changed her mind. She announced that she would seek a position on the Labour list, without re-contesting the Wairarapa seat. She stated that a rally by the conservative Destiny Church the previous month had influenced her decision, as she believed that the message of such rallies must be opposed.
Beyer resigned from parliament effective from 15 February 2007, and gave her valedictory speech to Parliament on the previous day. The vacant list position was filled by Lesley Soper.
Beyer was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in 2013, and required dialysis several times a day until she received a kidney transplant. Beyer had a successful kidney transplant in 2017 and has resumed public appearances.