Speaker Profile: Georgina Beyer
Elected mayor of Carterton in 1995, Beyer became the world’s first transgender mayor. She continued to defy convention with a successful parliamentary bid in the 1999 general election, becoming a Member of Parliament representing the typically right-leaning electorate of Wairarapa. She was re-elected in 2002 and eventually became a list MP. Beyond the political sphere, her colourful life has included a stint as an actress in the film Jewel's Darl which earned her a New Zealand Film award nomination in 1987. A Wellington nightlife legend, Georgina has openly discussed how her experience as a sex worker has informed her advocacy in support of prostitution reform.
Beyer acknowledges that some of her views may cause outrage. While her days in politics may be over, it is clear that Georgina Beyer is going nowhere – nor will she be silenced. Of herself she says,
"If my younger self was looking at me now I guess she would be saying, 'Bloody well done. Good on you. What an inspiration. What a motivator. Against all the odds you were able to pull down the barriers and move forward.'"
Libraries Horowhenua are delighted that she will be a keynote speaker at this Year’s Festival of Stories and that she will have an opportunity t share her story and how she has worked to uphold the right to freedom of expression.