“It is important to allow people who want to be positive contributors of our society regardless of sex, race, creed and gender to reach their human potential.”
As the first openly transgender person in the world to hold a national office, Georgina Beyer was elected a Member of Parliament in New Zealand.
Georgina, born biologically male, spent her early childhood on her grandparents’ farm in rural New Zealand before moving to Wellington with her mother and stepfather. From an early age, she recalls feeling like a girl trapped in a boy’s body.
When she was 16 Georgina began working in the Wellington gay nightclub scene as a singer and drag queen performer, and then a prostitute. During a trip to Australia, she was attacked and raped by four men. Georgina refers to this experience as her defining moment.
In 1984, Georgina had sexual reassignment surgery and forged a successful career as a film and television actress in Auckland. She was often typecast as a drag queen or streetwalker. From Auckland, Georgina moved to the small conservative town of Carterton, where she took a job as a youth social worker.
In 1993, Georgina was elected to the Carterton District Council. Two years later she was elected Mayor of Carterton, where she served for five years. In 1999, she won a seat in the New Zealand Parliament. While in Parliament, Georgina helped pass the Prostitution Reform Act, which decriminalises prostitution and protects sex workers and their clients. She was instrumental in securing same-sex civil union benefits for New Zealanders.
In 1997 Georgina served on the New Zealand AIDS Foundation board. She held that position for three years.
Georgina chronicled her life in “Change for the Better: the Story of Georgina Beyer” (1999). A documentary film about her, “Georgie Girl” (2002), won international awards.
Georgina was a keynote speaker at the International Conference on LGBT Human Rights in Montreal in 2006. She retired from Parliament in 2007, saying, “I can now look for fresh challenges.” Most recently, on October 23 2018, she was invited to speak at Oxford University’s debating society Oxford Union and at Cambridge University on October 31 2018.
Gresham became a GABA/Rainbow Auckland member in 2000 and in 2001 joined the Executive where he took over the Communications role for eight years, serving with Presidents John Reinman, Richy James and Johnny Givins. He became a GABA Charitable Trust Board member in 2008, and in January 2010 was appointed to the role of Chair. In 2018, he helped lead the Trust’s transition from the GABA Charitable Trust to the Rainbow New Zealand Charitable Trust.
In 2011, Gresham chaired the GABA-led Community Consultation process and then the Auckland Pride Festival Steering Committee which led directly to the formation of the Auckland Pride Festival Trust in 2012. He was one of the Co-Chairs of Auckland Pride through 2013 its inaugural year relaunching the Pride Festival and Parade.
Gresham is a founding Director of e-cast Ltd and General Manager of eTV, NZ’s online educational video distribution service, which has been operating since 2002. -e-cast delivers live and on demand video streaming, hosting and media management platforms and services to a range of business, government clients.
New Zealand born, Gresham lived in Vancouver, Canada for many years where he obtained a BA Communications at Simon Fraser University leading to a career in educational television at the Knowledge Network, before returning to NZ in 1996. In 2002, he produced the award winning series Captain’s Log for TVOne.
A keen sailor and gardener, he lives with his husband, Steve Rogers, in Northcote, Auckland.
Jacquie Grant ONZM
For the past 20 years I have been CEO of NZ Autoknitter Ltd which is a manufacturing company specialising in hand operated Circular Sock Knitting machines for the hobby market and we export our machines world wide.
Sockworld Hokitika is our retail tourist shop where we manufacture specialty socks for the tourist market.
I am married to Glenn Sims TV producer extraordinaire who is now based in Jakarta.
I live in a provincial area and have purposely integrated myself into what we call straight society because I have always believed we are all the same under the skin and had a philosophy of total integration is the best example that LGTB xyz people pose no threat to society.
I came out as Trans at 12 to 13 years old in Sydney Australia and spent my formative years on the streets of kings Cross that was back in 1956. I have lived my life by my own rules but always with the underlying philosophy of never hiding from my reality and never being ashamed or frightened of my Trans status. I never came out because I was never in.
I arrived in Auckland New Zealand in 1963/64 with five pounds in my purse and not knowing a soul except Carmen Rupe and my two Aussie sisters who had gone to Wellington a couple of days before me, I had to go on the Auckland flight as there was the matter of the NSW vice squad I was escaping from, time was the essence.
Over my 55 years in this incredible country I have been privileged to have trained as a Chef owned several restaurants and clubs including Mojo’s in Auckland which I started and Jacquie’s Coffee Bar in Wellington, I built a dairy farm out of a rough block of land at Lake Brunner on the south Island’s West Coast, the farm eventually morphed into the Moana Zoo and Kiwi House, During that time I had several roles and was elected to the Grey District Council and was appointed to the human Rights Review Tribunal by the government a position I held for nearly 9 years. I was the first approved foster parent and ended up fostering for about 30 years, It was one of my kids that first dubbed me Tranny Granny.
I have held many roles in the community over the years The Chrissy Witoko Trust stands out for me as an achievement I am immensely proud of for being a founder member and treasurer for many years.
In 1998 I was made a Member of the New Zealand order of Merit the first Trans person in the world to receive a royal honour. In 2018 I was honoured with an upgrade and made an officer of the same order ONZM
Trevor is a proud gay man and has been with his partner Marty for 26 years and they married in 2015. He has spent most of his working career in broadcasting working in commercial advertising sales, mainly on the operational side of the business, both at TVNZ and SKYTV. In 2013 he changed directions and joined the not for profit sector as GM of OUTLineNZ, where he worked for the next 4 1/2 years. Trevor had been a volunteer for that organisation in the 80’s and 90’s and during that time had been part of their Board. He has also served on other Boards, Auckland Community Church ( St Mathews), Advertising Complaints Board, Interactive Advertising Board.