Queenstown Rotary Club elects transgender president

  • 18/05/2016
Monica Mulholland (supplied)
Monica Mulholland (supplied)

A transgender woman is set to become the next president of a New Zealand Rotary club and says it's not the "fuddy duddy" organisation some think.

Monica Mulholland is the Queenstown club's nominee and is set to take on the role in June next year, pending an AGM vote.

Just three months after making her transition, she says most of those in the club have only known her as a guy.

"The support and the affection that I've had from my fellow Rotarians has really blown me away."

"I think that's a huge step forward and a real credit to the people who run Rotary in New Zealand."

She says it hasn't been long since women were allowed into rotary, let alone become president. Ms Mulholland has previously worked on the ShelterBox project, which provides emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies for families around the world who are affected by disasters. Her experience with this is what got her the shoulder tap to be the next in line to lead.

She expected the road to rocky with a few snide comments, but so everyone in the club has been "fantastic".

Part of the rotary attitude, she says, is when you're called on you deliver. This is what Ms Mulholland will hold to when she becomes president, after 12 years in the rotary club.

"I really owe it to them to step up to the plate if they've called on me…they've done a great job in supporting me."

Her goal is to bring more people who are on the margin into the rotary community.

"What people think of rotary is just old, fuddy duddy [people]…and all they do is just have lunch together," she says.

"Most people are in [rotary] to give service to community.

"I'm very proud of my rotary club," she says.

Ms Mulholland has also written a Kindle book called The Gift of Being Transgender -- with all proceeds going to Lifeline.