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Claude Amio, from committed citizen to scholar

University diploma obtained in the 1970s.

This is the level of education obtained by Claude Amieux, better known as Madame Claude, from Saguenay-lac-Saint-Jean.

Now, Ms. Claude is now a university researcher. She leads a research project on the team of Annie Pullen Sansfaçon, Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Montreal and Canada Chairholder for Research on Transgender Children and Their Families.

This meeting was made possible thanks to the program commitment Quebec Research Funds (FRQ). This participatory science program invites people to propose a research idea for implementation in close collaboration with the researcher.

And thoughts, Madame Claude had them. Let’s go back to the source to understand his research project.

Personal interest first

Claude Amio is a 68-year-old trans woman. She began her transition at the age of 62. However, it was only three years later that she began to feel good about herself, working and appearing as a woman. The discomfort came chiefly from his face, more precisely from the beard, which after several sessions of electrolysis had overcome when the hair had become whiter.

You should know that Quebec’s Department of Health and Social Services reimburses costs related to crotch surgery for trans people and also offers mastectomy for trans men.

However, the general health insurance plan does not cover procedures considered “cosmetic” such as facial surgery, breast augmentation, voice training, hair transplantation and laser hair removal.

“In the morning when I looked at myself in the mirror, my problem was not my crotch, but my face,” smiles Mrs. Claude. I told myself that it was foolishness, that I would rather be offered hair removal for the sake of my safety, my mental health and my development as a woman. I wanted to pass first socially, not just sexually.”

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Spurred on by this interest, Madame Claude researched the issue and discussed it with those around her and with members of the Entraide Trans Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, a mutual aid and support group of which she presides.

“In my discussions, I rarely hear people say that what was most pressing was the crotch,” she recalls. It was often hair, breasts, etc. And when I looked through the literature, I couldn’t find any study that looked at the real needs of transgender people, about their priorities in their transition.

Then I wondered if she could drive one herself. This is where ENGAGEMENT comes in, as I figure out that one thing leads to another and through word of mouth.

With the support of Annie Pauline Sansvacon, Ms. Claude will soon conduct an intergenerational community survey on the types of interventions transgender people desire, the barriers they face and their impacts.

The power of liberation and open research

Annie Boleyn Sansvacon

Credit: Amelie Philibert | University of Montreal

In addition to her research questions, Miss Claude conveys an inspiring message: Being yourself can go a long way.

“I am a 68-year-old woman, residing in the regions moreover, who today, thanks to her relocation, has suddenly been able to gain research experience, without even coming from the university world. See where you can go when you are so good with yourself!” she exclaims with infectious fervor.

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In her view, her experience not only enables her to answer the questions she considers important, but also to enter the world of research: to know the different types of studies, their rigor and drawbacks, and to develop skills such as analysis. Thinking and paying attention to cognitive biases.

“The past year has changed the way I see and analyze situations, even in my personal life. Today I have a more open vision and research seems easier for me. Before, I saw Annie as a researcher there, but since our first meeting, the base has gone off the edge very quickly! “I really feel like I’m on an equal footing with him,” says Lady Claude, laughing.

This sentiment is confirmed by Annie Boleyn Sansvacon. For the professor, this initiative allows research to break out of its “ivory tower,” as well as “increase creativity through co-construction and get out of its comfort zone.”

“Unusual” experience

Ms. Claude would like to promote the Engagement programme. It invites all persons, both students and seniors, who have questions that could be the subject of study to apply.

“It would be joking So that others can take advantage of this opportunity, I have such an extraordinary life! And if I hadn’t made the decision, even late, to live like my kind, I would probably be sitting in front of the TV. Instead, I’m a researcher,” she says proudly.

Assertive, fun, curious, enthusiastic, and with a keen sense of self-deprecation, Madame Claude is undoubtedly a role model that transcends generations.

We can’t wait to see the results of his study.

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