Georgina Beyer, world’s first out trans MP, dies aged 65: ‘She blazed a trail’

Georgina Beyers, at a red carpet event, smiles.

New Zealand politician Georgina Beyer, who became the world’s first openly transgender MP, has died at the age of 65.

She died on Monday (6 March) after being admitted to a hospice in Wellington.

New Zealand prime minister Chris Hipkins said that Beyer had “blazed a trail” which had made being a trans politician “much easier for others to follow”.

Current Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty described her as a “beloved family member, loyal friend, passionate advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community and a powerhouse of a local politician”.

Beyer had been battling kidney disease for more than a decade, although the cause of her death has not yet been reported.

Georgina Beyer made history as world’s first out trans MP

Georgina Beyer broke new ground in the 1999 New Zealand general election when she won the seat of Wairarapa with a 3,033 majority.

You may like to watch

She had been elected as mayor of Carterton a year earlier. She resigned that post in 2000, which she later said was one of her biggest regrets.

Georgina Beyers speaking during an event.
Trailblazing politician Georgina Beyer has died at the age of 65. (Getty)

During her maiden speech, Beyer noted the “number of firsts” that the election brought about.

“Our first Rastafarian (Nándor Tánczos), our first Polynesian woman (Luamanuvao Winnie Laban) – and yes, I have to say it I guess, I am the first transsexual in New Zealand [and the world] to be standing in this house of parliament.

“This is a historic moment. We need to acknowledge that this country of ours leads the way in so many aspects.”

Georgina Beyer was re-elected as Wairarapa MP in 2002, doubling her majority, and remained in parliament until 2007.

Her progressive policies included fighting for LGBTQ+ rights and for the rights of sex workers – a profession she had worked in while part of the Wellington queer nightclub scene.

Over the course of her career, she spoke at a number of events in an effort to push the rights of LGBTQ+ people across the globe, including the first two international conferences on LGBTQ+ human rights in 2006 and 2009.

In 2013, she was diagnosed with kidney failure and received a transplant in 2017. Since then, she needed for dialysis four times a day.

Close friend Scott Kennedy said that after being admitted to hospital, Beyer “accepted what was happening”.

Kennedy added: “[She] was cracking jokes and had a twinkle in her eye. At Georgie’s request, there will be no funeral service. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

“Farewell Georgie, your love, compassion, and all that you have done for the Rainbow and many other communities will live on for ever.”

Please login or register to comment on this story.