I am embarrassed to admit that even with my declared interest in LGBT and Church history, and in queer history within the church, some other concerns have clouded my vision so that I almost missed the fact that here in the UK, it has been LGBT history month. I do have a few posts of history I’ve been working on but struggling to get right: one on the Japanese gay culture among the samurai, for instance, and on Chinese “traditional marriage”. There could also be something on the progress made in (some of) the churches over the past fifteen years: we need something cheering, I think, to move away from the downbeat tone produced by the Irish sexual abuse stories, and memory of the burnt sodomites. So let us remember – “We are made in all shapes and sizes”.
To get us going, though, I thought I’d share something on a person I had never heard of, but sounds like she’s worth taking seriously. From the UK LGBT History Month website, I give you the world’s first openly trans mayor, and then the first openly trans Member of Parliament:
Georgina Beyer MP 1957 –
“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. We need all human potential to make our communities thrive, to make them more vital, the very centre of our reason for being and living. The most important thing at the end of the day is about people, people and people!”
– Georgina Beyer
No matter which way you look at it, Georgina Beyer is an exceptional survivor and achiever.
Born with a boy’s genital anatomy into the New Zealand Māori culture, and obliged to work in the sex trade for a period in order to survive, she underwent Gender Reassignment surgery in 1984 and then worked variously as an actor, publicist and broadcaster before being first elected to her local council in a largely white rural community in 1993. Two years later Georgina became the world’s first transsexual Mayor and then, in 1999, the world’s first transsexual Member of Parliament – a distinction she still holds, unchallenged, whilst continually strengthening her electoral majority.
(Read the full profile)