In 1999, the largely conservative Wairarapa district in New Zealand elected a former cabaret performer/actress named Georgina Beyer to the country's House of Parliament -- a seemingly unremarkable event in that country's history except for the fact that Beyer is a transsexual and may very well be the first transsexual in the world to be elected to a national office. In their 2002 biographical documentary Georgie Girl, co-directors Peter Wells and Annie Goldson highlight the popular Member of Parliament's rapid rise through local government to prominence in the New Zealand national government. Born George Bertrand and of Maori descent, Beyer's life began modestly as her farming family struggled against constant financial hurdles and racism. Escaping her rural beginnings and dealing with her gender identity issues with transsexual surgery, Beyer became a star performer in the gay nightclubs of Auckland and Wellington before a descent into drug addiction and prostitution sent her into a rehabilitation facility in the town of Carterton. Almost instantly, Beyer forged a strong attachment to her new community, which led to her involvement and subsequent success in local, and ultimately, national politics. Georgie Girl was selected for inclusion in a number of gay-oriented film festivals in 2002, as well as the PBS documentary series, P.O.V.
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