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Canadian transgender soldier speaks out on transitioning to help others

Transgender army corporal recounts life-altering transformation
WATCH: He started his Army career as Virginie Lamarre but Cpl. Vincent-Gabriel Lamarre finally feels comfortable in his own skin. Global's Amanda Jelowicki sat down with the young soldier as he opens up about his life-altering transformation.

Vincent-Gabriel Lamarre joined the Canadian military because he wanted to help people. That’s also why he’s speaking out about his own process of transitioning to a man — to make it easier for others.

“I didn’t find information about transitioning. I did not know that was the struggle I was living,” 32-year-old Lamarre said. “For a long time, I thought I was a hermaphrodite until I got my first period.”

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A documentary filmmaker followed the young soldier for three years, as he transitioned from Virginie to Vincent.

From the age of three, Lamarre longed to be a boy. He knew little about transgendered people. He struggled deeply with his identity as a teenager.

He hated his body, often painfully taping his breasts to hide them.

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“I was feeling alone because no one understood what was my struggle inside,” he said. “My first period, I just hit myself inside the belly. Same things with the breasts. I was so uncomfortable.”

He joined the military as a driver 10 years ago, and lived as a lesbian.

That wasn’t enough.

He received overwhelming support from his family and his military colleagues when he decided to transition.

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“I am really lucky because I know many civilian jobs don’t have this support around them,” Lamarre said.

His mother says she felt relieved when he transitioned.

“Parents must accept their children, and be tolerant of them,” said Manon Thibodeau.

“They have to realize they aren’t losing a child, they are gaining a new one.”

Vincent says after years of unhappiness, he’s finally at peace. He loves his job where everyone has accepted him.

Despite the many painful surgeries he’s endured, he says the emotional pain of not living as his true self was harder to bear.

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“After these surgeries, I know I made a good choice,” he said. “I saw today how I feel and I feel pretty light like I’m flying.”

Transitioning changed Vincent’s life. He’s hoping the story of his successful journey will help change other lives too.