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Pioneering transsexual legislator calls it quits

Pioneering transsexual legislator calls it quits

The woman believed to be the world's first transsexual lawmaker announced Thursday she will quit the New Zealand parliament at the 2005 election. Georgina Beyer, who won fame by winning a conservative farming electorate seat in 1999, said the "discipline and rigors" of life as a legislator "have become more and more difficult" for her. "Politics and I don't seem to sit too well together," Beyer said. It's the second time the flamboyant Labor Party lawmaker has announced she is quitting national politics since entering the parliament in 1999 for the farming seat of Wairarapa, near the capital, Wellington. When she tried to quit in 2001, Beyer said, she had not been prepared for the nastiness of parliament's debating chamber and was leaving to pursue Maori and transgender issues. In a surprise about-face a short time later, Beyer said she had been under pressure and "very run-down" at the time she said she would quit. In the 2002 election she won by 6,000 votes, doubling her majority in the rural constituency where she first entered public life in 1992 as a councilwoman and later mayor of a small town. Beyer said Thursday that the disgruntled feelings she had harbored toward politics at the time she made her last "bungled attempt" to leave parliament had not subsided. Beyer said her decision to leave parliament was no reflection on her Wairarapa constituency. "We have made history, the Wairarapa and I," she added. Beyer was born George Bertrand but took the surname of her stepfather, businessman Colin Beyer. She said she wants to "disappear into the woodwork" for a while when she leaves parliament in 2005 and may then become involved in the performing arts, films, and television.

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