Focusing on the present
Today is a day that comes around only once before it becomes ‘the past’. Today is a time frame of 24 hours that goes as quickly as it arrives. Today is also what makes up our history. What we do today can and does affect our lives.
Tapatoru would like to contribute to today in many ways. There will be opportunities when Tapatoru would like to be with trans friends and whanau to enjoy ‘today’ and contribute to good memories.
Eventually, Tapatoru would like to organise the types of gatherings that would extend to our Maori trans whanau and that would inspire them to join in and enjoy themselves. We believe that our whanau deserve more than what is currently out there, and that we need ‘by trans – for trans’ events, so that our spirit feels connected and we embrace connectedness through unified action and a united voice in things we would like to do for our aging Maori trans whanau.
We know that life is too short because when we do meet up, we look around to see who is not there or who has passed away and we reflect that with sadness. So we now need to make the most of our time together and one step further would be to assist Tapatoru in its work through support and participation.
World's first openly transgender mayor and MP, Georgina Beyer, has died.
Georgina Beyer Photo: Aotearoa Media Collective Monday 6th March 2023
The world's first openly transgender mayor and MP, Georgina Beyer (Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Raukawa, and Ngāti Porou), has died after a long illness.
Friends of the ground-breaking politician and activist say she died at 3.30pm on Monday.
They said she had been surrounded by her close friends and family over the past week and that she had accepted what was happening and cracking jokes right until her final moments.
At Beyer's request there will be no funeral service, but a memorial service will be held at a later date.
Navigating 'through the mire of political life'
Elected to the Carterton District Council in 1993, Beyer won a landslide victory in the Carterton mayoral election in 1995 and was re-elected in 1998.
Nominated by Labour as its candidate in Wairarapa for the 1999 election, she won the seat from broadcaster Paul Henry with the biggest swing in New Zealand that year and took her place as a backbencher in the Labour-Alliance coalition government.
She was re-elected in 2002 and was a list MP between 2005 and 2007 when she retired from Parliament.
Her election as the world's first transgender mayor and MP attracted worldwide attention and she was interviewed by global news organisations such as CNN, the BBC and Time magazine.
She also told her life story in the book A Change for the Better.
After her political career, she struggled to find work.
She was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in 2013, for which she needed daily dialysis.
However, in 2014 she had another crack at politics, joining the Mana Party and standing in the Te Tai Tonga electorate.
Standing for Mana was her way of making amends to Māori after being forced to vote for the Foreshore and Seabed Act during her time as an MP, she said.
Her bid for Te Tai Tonga was unsuccessful.
- Listen to a 2021 interview with Beyer here.
In the 2019 documentary Rainbow Voices of New Zealand, to mark the reopening of Parliament's Rainbow Room, Beyer said she had no idea when she was elected she was the world's first openly trans MP.
Beyer said she wanted to "pay homage to those who may have been transgender but who never have been out".
"As the first transsexual to serve in a Parliament, I had no mentors, I had to navigate my way myself through the mire of political life, I guess."
In her first term, two matters came up "that really made me dive into the thick of it" - the Civil Unions Act and Prostitution Reform Act, she said.
In 2020, she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to the LGBTQI community.
'She broke barriers before anybody thought it was possible'
Labour's Rainbow Caucus chairperson and Northcote MP Shanan Halbert said the Rainbow Caucus was deeply saddened by the news.
"She was a trailblazer in the rainbow community for providing a voice and leadership to our community as the World's first openly transgender MP," Halbert wrote on Facebook.
"She was a champion of human rights and gender identity and will be greatly missed, not only in the rainbow community but across New Zealand.
"Kua hinga he totara i te wao nui a Tane."
A post on the Rainbow Labour Facebook page reads: "A personal hero to many, Georgina was a true warrior with a unique sense of humour and a passion for giving back to her communities. She broke barriers before anybody thought it was possible. She was strong-willed and backed herself at every moment in her life."
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said Beyer left a pioneering legacy.
"I do want to extend my condolences to all those that Georgina was important and special to... I certainly think that Georgina has blazed a trail that has made it much easier for others to follow."
Beyer always stood up for the marginalised and stigmatised, Labour minister Grant Robertson said.
"I will always remember her courage. I was with her on the steps of Parliament when Brian Tamaki and his mob arrived to oppose civil unions. And then followed her when she went to confront them. With a mixture of awe and genuine fear for her safety, I saw the very best of Georgina that day.
"Thank you Georgie for your life of creativity, drama, activism and aroha. Rest easy now."
Auckland councillor Richard Hills remembers a time Beyer surprised the audience of the Auckland Pride gala with an impromptu performance of Whitney Houston's 'Greatest Love of All'.
"We were in awe, we stood &!cheered [sic], many of us were in tears feeling honoured to be in her presence," he said on Twitter.
"She did so much for the Labour movement, for Māori, for the rights of rainbow communities, for the protection and safety of sex workers and for so many people who needed a voice. She was their voice.
"Thank you, Georgina, thank you for carving a path for so many of us.
"Rest in Peace, I'm just sorry it is so much earlier than you deserve after all you've done for so many."
Youth rainbow organisation InsideOUT said as the world's first openly transgender/whakawahine mayor and MP, Beyer was "a trailblazer who stood as a shining beacon for and tireless advocate of Aotearoa's rainbow communities".
"Her impact and legacy cannot be understated.
"We know that this news will rock many in our community and we stand with you all in our shared grief and sense of loss."
Rainbow mental health organisation OutLine said it was deeply saddened by Beyer's passing.
"We extend our aroha to her friends, whānau and communities, all of whom will be feeling her loss deeply.
"As Aotearoa's rainbow communities come together to grieve and celebrate Georgina's life, many of us may find we need some extra support. OutLine is here to help if you need to talk."
Our bi-monthly ezine"Tatou" is for our community promoting positiveness, wellness,news and updates within Aotearoa.
PLEASE NOTE "TATOU" is available as PDF only.
TO BE WHO I AM
In 2006 the Human Rights Commission launched the world's first inquiry by a national human rights institution into discrimination experienced by transgender people.
The focus was on three areas: experiences of discrimination, access to health services, and barriers to legal recognition of gender status. The Inquiry process placed emphasis on participation of and accountability to the widest possible range of trans people.
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NEW ZEALAND's OWN BEN: TRANSGENDER AT 10 YEARS OLD.
By Mike Wesley-Smith
Monday 14 Mar 2016 6:57 p.m.
Ben Brockwell-Jones is a remarkable young boy.
Why? Well, Ben was born a girl.
He was born Anoushka-Mei Lewisa Jones and it only took him a few years to realise what was wrong and to recognise that inside, he was male.
He started wearing boys' clothes when he was three.
He is transgender, which simply means he identifies as a male even though he was born female.
It is important to stress that gender identity is separate from a person's sexual orientation -- that usually develops in the second decade of life.
There are many Kiwis like Ben out there. A 2012 survey of 8500 students revealed four of every 100 young people said they were either transgender or unsure of their gender.
Ben is now 10, and with the full support of his family, he is about to face the next step in becoming the gender he wants to be.
Story went to meet Ben to speak to him about his journey so far.
Watch the video for the full Story report.
OUR TOP VIDEO's
Transgender teen co-writes kids' book
A transgender teenager has co-written a children’s book which she hopes helps other trans youngsters.
Florida 14-year-old Jazz Jennings hopes I Am Jazz helps transgender kids who are struggling. You can buy it on Amazon here
"They shouldn't be afraid to step out of their shadows,” she’s told People.
"I hope this book will help them to be who they are and stay true to themselves … I want them to know it's OK to be different and unique, and that they should be proud of themselves and who they are."
Jazz has also featured in a documentary I Am Jazz: A Family in Transition and has incredibly supportive parents.
She is an honorary co-founder of the Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation who speaks at universities, medical schools, conferences, conventions and symposiums and successfully fought to be able to play girls’ soccer after being banned.
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