The life of a legend - Regional News | Connecting Wellington
 Issue 199

The life of a legend by Alessia Belsito-Riera

Georgina Beyer MNZM is widely considered the world’s first openly transgender mayor and Member of Parliament. Beyer’s passing on the 6th of March is a monumental loss for Aotearoa New Zealand and the world. As per her wishes, Beyer was given a private service at Pipitea Marae. Now the executors of Beyer’s estate and close friends are hosting a public memorial event in her honour at Embassy Theatre on the 18th of July.

The memorial offers an opportunity for attendees to share stories and memories of Beyer’s achievements and service to New Zealand. The theme is The Life and Times of Georgina Beyer.

Before beginning her career in politics, Beyer was a sex worker and nightclub performer who advocated for the lack of opportunities for trans women.

In 1995, Beyer sent shockwaves around the globe when she was elected mayor of Carterton and again in 1999 when she won the Wairarapa electorate for Labour. Whilst at the Beehive, she helped decriminalise sex work, granting workers new rights through the 2003 Prostitution Reform Act. She also advocated for the legal recognition of same-sex couples, leading to the 2004 Civil Union Act. She was lauded for her services to the Rainbow community with a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit award in 2020.

Beyer’s memory will live on forever through the communities she fought for and the lives she changed. Come celebrate the politician, activist, trailblazer, mover, and shaker, Georgina Beyer.

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