Georgina Beyer was elected Member of Parliament in New Zealand in 1999, the first openly transgender person in the world to hold a national office
Vancouver (27 September 2010) – The B C Government and Services Employees’ Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) will be co-hosting Up Close....and Personal – a panel discussion with Georgina Beyer, the world’s first trans Member of Parliament this coming Saturday (October 2) in Vancouver.
As the first openly transgender person in the world to hold a national office, Georgina Beyer was elected a Member of Parliament in New Zealand in 1999. Beyer, born biologically male, from an early age, recalls feeling like a girl trapped in a boy’s body. In her 20s, Beyer began working in the Wellington gay nightclub scene as a singer and drag queen performer. During a trip to Australia, she was attacked and raped by four men. Beyer refers to this experience as her defining moment.
In 1984, she had sex reassignment surgery and forged a successful career as a film and television actress in Auckland.
In 1999, she won a seat in the New Zealand Parliament. While in Parliament, Beyer helped pass the Prostitution Reform Act, which decriminalizes prostitution and protects sex workers and their clients. She was instrumental in securing same-sex civil union benefits for New Zealanders. Beyer chronicled her life in “Change for the Better: the Story of Georgina Beyer” (1999). A documentary film about her, “Georgie Girl” (2002), won international awards.
Along with BCGEU, the other co-hosts of the event are Egale Canada, Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health and W2 Community Media Arts.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE