By Don Farmer
News that Georgina Beyer is fighting a health battle on two fronts will sadden many Wairarapa people whose lives she has touched.
The 58-year-old former mayor of Carterton and Wairarapa MP is suffering from chronic kidney failure and heart disease and is pinning her future hopes on being able to rally to the stage where she will be eligible for a kidney transplant.
Although now living in Wellington where she is relying on lengthy dialysis sessions Ms Beyer spoke this week of her enduring love for Wairarapa, revealing that should she not survive her ordeal she wants her ashes scattered in Carterton.
In her heyday the flamboyant Ms Beyer, who earlier in life worked as a stripper and lap dancer, brought Carterton into world focus by becoming the first transsexual mayor ever elected anywhere.
Regardless of how people viewed her success or otherwise as a mayor nobody can argue that she didn’t maximise the town’s profile simply by being who she was and who she knew in the wider world.
In 1999 Ms Beyer stood for Labour in Wairarapa and surprised many pundits by easily rolling her opponent Paul Henry, who ironically was her boss at the then Today FM radio station.
She romped in again in 2002 and later served another term as a list MP.
Life has not been very kind to her since and she fell on hard times financially once having to resort to applying for a benefit. but never lost her lust for life which has included being a contestant in Dancing With The Stars, and being in numerous acting roles.
When it comes to conversation Ms Beyer has shown over the years she doesn’t mince matters.
She is on record as saying, in the aftermath of her sex change operation, that she had been asked whether having sex as a woman was different from having had sex as a man.
Her curt reply to the interviewer was “well, honey, obviously.”
Now, in the darkest hours of her life Ms Beyer is no quitter and has spoken of her hope of regaining her health to an extent that will allow her to return to Wairarapa, a place she lived for 20 years with people “so close to my heart”.