Parliament farewells first transsexual MP

The world's first transsexual MP Georgina Beyer came into Parliament making a joke about her sexuality and left yesterday on the same note.

In her maiden speech Ms Beyer joked that she was the stallion that became a gelding, then a mayor (of Carterton) and then she became a member.

"Well Madame Speaker can I say to you at this point that while I have relished the opportunity at being a member in this House I am glad I don't possess one," she said in her valedictory speech last night.

But it was not all lightness and laughter as she talked about the difficult decision to support Labour over the foreshore and seabed legislation.

"I am Maori but I held a general seat and my electorate wanted me to support the Government."

However, she was listening to family and Maori who opposed it.

"We all actually experience from time to time being torn in this way."

Ms Beyer said her biggest achievement was being elected.

"The first transsexual in the world to be elected to a Parliament ... it was inspirational in itself."

She praised colleagues Chris Carter, who was New Zealand's first openly gay MP, and Tim Barnett.

"This has got to add to our country that significant minorities can have a voice, can have a say and can stand for representation in this House."

Other achievements included support for prostitution reform and the legislation enabling civil unions.

"I will not resile ever from being a staunch supporter for both of those."

She was also proud to have supported the Labour programme.

"I will always be a person that will have the utmost respect for democracy. I have been pleased and proud to be a positive participant in our society. I am so glad that I have been able to redeem my more lurid past and practise proper rights of being a citizen of this country.

"I could ask for no more than that and whatever my future holds this will have to have been the greatest moment of my life."

After her speech Ms Beyer was kissed and hugged by colleagues from several parties.

She was MP for Wairarapa from 1999 until 2005 then continued as a list MP.

Ms Beyer is considering running against incumbent Wellington City Mayor Kerry Prendergast.

She will be replaced by Southland union organiser Lesley Soper.

- NZPA

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