A former New Zealand MP, who was the first openly transgender person in the world to hold such a role, has announced that she will not be making a planned return to politics as she has been diagnosed with chronic kidney failure.
Georgina Beyer, 55, was also notable for being the world’s first transgender mayor, having been elected mayor of Carterton in 1995.
She became Labour MP for Wairarapa in 1999, and served three terms before stepping down in 2007. During her political career she successfully pressed for transgender people to be protected from discrimination in the Human Rights Act, and has also championed the rights of same-sex couples by supporting the Civil Union bill.
Ms Beyer revealed that she had planned to run for office once again – this time for the post of mayor of Wellington – but had received the kidney failure diagnosis days before announcing her plans.
“I was going to be cranking it up a notch and re-entering the world of politics. I wanted to serve the community again and return to something I enjoy,” she said.
“But I’m sure as hell not going to sit back and think, ‘woe is me’.”
Unless she receives a kidney transplant, Ms Beyer will have to undergo dialysis four times a day for the rest of her life.
Before undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 1984, she worked as a stripper and prostitute in Wellington and Sydney.
After surgery she became a successful actress and broadcaster, but didn’t begin her political career until 1992.
In 2002 a documentary about her life, Georgie Girl , was released internationally.