Social and cultural

Marie-Marcelle Godbout, Mother Teresa of the Quebec trans people

Marie-Marcelle Godbout

Marie-Marcelle Godbout died in 2017 at the age of 73 and was considered by many to be the Mother Teresa of trans people in Quebec.


Marie-Marcelle Godbout died in 2017 at the age of 73 and was considered by many to be the Mother Teresa of trans people in Quebec. She founded the Association des Transsexuels (les) du Québec (now Aide aux Trans du Québec) and was one of the first trans people to proudly give open-face interviews.

Born in 1943, Mrs. Godbout has always been a woman.

As far back as I can go in my childhood, when I was three or four years old, I’ve always been the person I am now,” she confided when she spoke with host Liza Frulla on Radio-Canada in 2000.

I’ve always been a woman,” she confirmed on that television set. According to her brother, he realized she was a girl when he was only four years old. Some people closed their eyes, but many had understood since she was a little girl. It was obvious to the person who points to the genetic code to explain her reality.

Marie-Marcelle Godbout became an adult at the end of an adolescence made more difficult for this reason. She was one of the first people to opt for gender affirmation surgery, which was obviously very little known at the time.

I’m one of the first,” she revealed in the year 2000. “At the time, in the 1960s, simply dressing as a woman was criminal…you could go to jail. So I chose to exile myself to Vancouver where it was much more permissive. I lived there with the identity I have now. But first, I was in therapy for two years, followed by a psychiatrist, sexologist and psychologist,” she said.

An ear and a voice for the trans community

We can’t even put a number on the amount of people who avoided suicide because Marie-Marcelle Godbout answered the phone in the middle of the night,” the then president of the organization Aide aux Trans du Québec, Julien Leroux-Richardson, told the Journal de Montréal the day after her death.

Deeply committed to her lifelong cause, Marie-Marcelle Godbout has testified on all levels about the realities of transgender people, which are still often unknown.

She has been instrumental in the advancement of LGBTQ rights by being at the forefront of numerous conferences and meetings with politicians at all levels. Behind her courage and dignity was a woman of heart and generosity. The world has lost count of the people she has kept company with her active listening, 24 hours a day, for more than 37 years. Thousands of people from all over the francophone world listened to her in their difficult moments. With her patience and her heart of gold, she transformed and saved their lives,” read a message from the organization Aide au Trans du Québec dated July 24, 2017.

Fortunately, the passionate commitment of a woman like Marie-Marcelle Godbout has inspired many. Today, thanks in part to this woman of heart, support for trans people is much more accessible.

Marie-Marcelle Godbout (1943-2017)

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