Rotary Club of Queenstown’s new transgender president has thanked the man she used to be as she takes office.
Monica Mulholland made national news last May when she was nominated as the club’s President-elect, two months after coming out as a woman.
At Tuesday’s changeover night, she thanked her former self “for the trials and tribulations that he’s been put through”.
She likened him to a booster rocket – “his job was done and he fell away”.
Mulholland also singled out her wife, Joan Kiernan, who became the club’s first woman President in 2006.
She said another transgender woman, ex-President of another Rotary club, had been her pathfinder – “without her, I probably wouldn’t have been here today”.
Also singled out for their understanding were Jan Chappell, local Rotary President when Mulholland announced her transition, and then President-elect Keith McIntosh.
Chappell had said, “if the members do not accept you, I’ll resign myself.”
Mulholland: “Jan, that was a turning point for me – thank you.”
Her agenda for the next year is to connect and inspire.
“We will spend more time away from the traditional structure of having a meal and a lecture, and engage far more in activities which promote fellowship and friendship.
“We’re also going to connect more with our community.”
Queenstown’s accepting stance jars against that of Rotary’s Avonhead club in Christchurch – which still prohibits women members.
Last December, Scene named Mulholland the ‘Queenstowner of the Year’.