Georgie Girl

Sat, May 30, 2009, 1:30pm

In 1999 Georgina Beyer became the first transgender person in the world elected to national political office, and the first person of Maori descent in New Zealand’s parliament. Even more amazing was the fact that this former stripper, drag performer and sex worker was elected by a mostly white, rural, conservative constituency that was fully aware of her background. Said one farmer from Dannervirke, “I’m going to vote for that Georgina Beyer because she’s a go-getter and she’s a good chap.”

Beyer’s election was part of a major shift in the make-up of New Zealand’s parliament that also included the first Rastafarian MP and the first Green party MP.

GEORGIE GIRL chronicles Beyer’s incredible journey from rural farmboy to flamboyant cabaret performer to accomplished screen actress to charismatic national leader. Beyer unapologetically recounts her fascinating and inspirational life story, enhanced by archival footage from her early years in theater and community organizing.

Equally interesting are scenes of Beyer attending to her daily political duties – making parliamentary speeches, meeting with her constituents, and even judging sheep racing contests. Demonstrating a depth of empathy and a level-headedness that disarms her critics and inspires the trust of ordinary people, it becomes clear why her district (the largest in New Zealand) chose to elect the irrepressible politician known simply as “Georgina.”

GEORGIE GIRL dirs Annie Golson and Peter Wells 2001 New Zealand 70 min.
Community Partners: Basic Rights Oregon & Sex Workers Outreach Coalition