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'Trailblazing' transgender politician Georgina Beyer recognised in Queen's Birthday honours

The trailblazing former mayor who became the world's first openly transgender MP has been recognised in the 2020 Queen's Birthday honours for her services to the LGBTQ+ community. 

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Georgina Beyer has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to the LGBTQ community.

Both "delighted" and "gobsmacked," Georgina Beyer says the honour has helped to provide validation to her efforts in pushing for further gender equality. 

"It’s a validation really, I guess, of anything I have done that has helped to push forward greater equality... to prove we are a democratic country whereby citizens can stand shoulder to shoulder with anybody else that seeks public office," she told 1 NEWS.

First elected as mayor in the early 1990s, before becoming a Labour MP for the area in 1999, Georgina Beyer was the first transgender individual to be elected for local and central government respectively. 

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Ms Beyer paid thanks to the "incredible" Carterton and Wairarapa community in particular ,who elected and supported her from the beginning and catapulted her into the world of politics.  

"I really do share this honour with all of those people who supported me both over in the Wairarapa and anywhere else in New Zealand, in particular the gay community who have been there egging me on."

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Since Ms Beyer's historic surge through New Zealand politics, she has helped pave the way for others in the transgender community to enter into public office; most recently being French mayor Marie Cau. 

"Personally, entering the world of politics and nobody gave me the handbook. I trailblazed as far as the transgender world is concerned. I didn’t know, really to this day, how I managed to navigate my way through."

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With her career acting as a turning point, Ms Beyer says that her position in New Zealand's political scene has "started a motivation... for others to continue to aspire and participate in those areas, because we are breaking the ceiling here". 

Since making waves 25 years ago, she says things have changed dramatically in terms of societal norms and laws. 

"Here we are many years down the track from that and the sky's here, nothing has fallen down. It's all OK."