Georgina Beyer - Rainbow Voices of Aotearoa New Zealand

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[00:00:00] Hello, I'm Georgina buyer. [00:00:04] I was elected to Parliament in 1999. After having served two terms as mayor of casselton and the wider rapper, I was the world's first out transsexual to have been elected to a parliament and indeed to have been elected as a mayor. For that matter. my arrival in parliament was taken with some surprise, I guess. my electorate was a rural conservative seat wider upon one of the largest general seats in the country at the time. And so while it was remarkable, that a transexual had been able to be elected as a constituency MP, I think the story really lies behind those who supported me getting into parliament, and that was the people of wider wrapper. I was very proud of that. I had no idea at the time that I was considered to be the world's first ouch transexual I added the outro myself for the United Nations Human Rights conference and Montreal A while later, because I decided that I needed to pay homage to those who may have been transgender, but could never have been out. And if they had served the hips and Parliament's or whatever before. So that was just my little acknowledgement, I think to those who may not have been able to be as out as I was able to be. I have often been credited with having been a trailblazer. And I will accept that as being true. Because there's the first out transexual to serve in a parliament. I had no mentors. I had I had to navigate my way myself through the mire of political life ideas. Yes, I had the support of colleagues and the support of caucus and we were serving in government was a huge advantage. Two metals came up in our first term that really made me dive in to the thick of it. The first one being what is now the civil union Act. The second one being what is now known as the prostitution reformat with civil unions. Of course, I was going to help with the parliamentary campaign at least which was led by the sponsor of the bill to ban it, who was my labor colleague and later to be a senior government work for the Labour Party. Outside of Parliament's The campaign was led by a lady we now now have Dame Catherine Haley. And she had spent 30 years I guess, working on prostitution reform and it finally came to pass but with civil unions, I guess I acquitted myself very well when we had what has now come to be known as the enough is enough match lead by the destiny church and the religious leader Brian Tamaki. When the 8000 Arrived at Parliament to protest against civil unions. It was a dark day I feel and the rest of the country seemed to feel so to the imagery they presented that day was reminiscent of scenes from Nazi Germany and general public. were horrified Frankly, I would defend their right to protest. Absolutely. But I stood on those steps for the two or three hours that they held a rally in front of Parliament holding the rainbow flag, joined by other members of Parliament's who bred su Kinsley, to ban it. Chris Carter, various others came out to support me as I stared them down from the steps of Parliament. At one point, I just lost it. We had 150 approximately of our support Those who were pro the civil union bill and they had been surrounded by the 8000 dystiny church people, and they were abused, they were jostled, they were shoved and I could see all of this happening from the States. When they finished the rally I wanted to immediately run straight down to them they were all gathered around the seat and statue in front of Parliament. But such was the abuse that I received that my mind for one of a better term remonde money or portal said, Hey, hey, hey, come back behind the barriers which I did. At that point. I was so angry I suppose I matched across four quarter Parliament yelling out loudly Why do you hate us so much? What is this what is this that you're teaching [00:04:49] our children this hatred towards us? It's not right and words to that effect. I was yelling which I seemed like a screaming Banshee because they had a sound system the wrong Stein's would have been proud of so I was trying to shout over there so they might hear me that in the rap on the news that night, and many other people around the country [00:05:19] when winter Hallelujah, [00:05:22] I have four it says there to stay down this great adversity we're facing from these people. One of the proudest moments of my parliamentary life I have to say, Sorry for getting a bit emotional about it, but it was significant. And, of course, several unions came to pass, and then it was followed much less than 10 years later, by Llosa wolves presentation of marriage equality to the country. And considering the venal debates that happened over several unions throughout the country, marriage equality managed to slip through, pretty well supported from within the parliament, and more importantly, from a majority of New Zealanders, you say, with patience and perseverance, the country, by and large will come on board because they can see all we want the quality we have are of no harm to anyone else. We just want to enrich our own lives with the quality. And it has been for the better of New Zealand, that we have been able to make positive contributions to our country and to live lives that are far more liberated than when I was young. Well done New Zealand. One thing I'd like to say, just to add on to that about civil unions, I guess it's probably been mentioned that john banks, the Honorable john banks had been quite an opponent to anything that was going to Give liberty to the rainbow community in this country for many years, I happen to end up being mayor of his hometown Catan. In order to illustrate how over time, people can soften their attitudes. I never thought I would see the day when john banks would vote in favor of marriage equality. That Lockwood Smith would give one of the greatest gay speeches in the house and his third reading speech for marriage equality. It went global God I think he ended up on lm too generous. So you see, patience is a virtue. Over time, people will come to see that we are not the scum of the earth, people think we are. We are ordinary New Zealanders with a bit of a difference, who want to be positive contributors to our society and live a fulfilled life. I've mentioned one of the other pieces of legislation I became involved with in Parliament. Was the prostitution reformat again another bill that was sponsored by Tim Barnet. With my history, my colorful history, of course, I had once been a sex worker and worked in the sex industry for a period of time and my early life, my late teens and my mid 20s. So when this bill came up, of course, I was probably the only authority on the house on the sixth industry at the time, and I think I mentioned so in my first reading speech, the purpose of the prostitution Reform Act wasn't so much to condone prostitution. But it was more of a health and safety issue. It was about human rights. It was about putting regulation into an area that exists in the twilight world. And once you put the disinfectant of light upon it, you tend to diminish the criminal elements that generally would run the sixth industry. It gave rights to six workers and to clients. And this provides more safety. I think. I stand by the prostitution Reform Act, which was world leading today. And there was a lot of critic critiques about it. But we are, what 1015 years down the track from that legislation coming to pass, [00:09:42] and [00:09:44] it still sits on the statute books and was now probably tacitly entrenched. And I think that has turned out to be a very good piece of legislation to deal with what some would consider a rather unsavory matter, but you cannot ignore such money. mantle's people's lives are at risk health and safety is at risk, HIV, AIDS, blood, you know, transmitted diseases, all of those kinds of things that can be involved as a result of people engaging in the sex industry. So I'm I still stand by that piece of legislation. It was a very divided but a conscience vote debate. And it passed by the slimmest of margins possible, one abstention. And the bill passed. So it was a far far closer run meta when voting through the third reading than it was, for example, civil unions, and I think that this country can be proud of facing up to some harsh realities regarding this matter, and that we have done a pretty good job of regulating it now. amongst many duties, I have While I was in Parliament, and other than my responsibilities as a constituency MP for the wider wrapper, I was also chairperson of the social services Select Committee for about three years actually, which is quite a long time to be chairing a select committee like that. Quite often, we would hold our select committee meetings in the Rainbow Room here in Parliament. Our homeroom for the better term was the one separatory actually further down the corridor at a quite often we would convenient here and the Rainbow Room. Also I was a member of the primary production Select Committee and this Rainbow Room was that's home select committee room normally, so that was our I can remember when Margaret Wilson the honor right honorable Margaret Wilson, who was speaker of the Parliament, and it was heard that initiated a Rainbow Room to be established, of course along with the lobbying help have to ban it and And I can remember it was quite low key that this was going to become the Rainbow Room. They didn't want to upset the cast on that proceeding with any members of the opposition becoming just to be nasty about a lawn job, an opposition to it being a stripper so it's sort of slipped into the house. Because you see we have a women's suffrage room. We have a Pacific Island room. We have a Maori Affairs Select Committee room, and imperial saddles so it seemed quite appropriate given the proud history we have in this country over rainbow issues that we should have a Rainbow Room representation for our community and I are solid the bricks and mortar seats are here at Parliament inheritance

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