Becoming Canadian·Video

'Forever grateful:' this new Canadian citizen now feels safe living openly as a woman

Rachel Clark immigrated to Canada from the U.S. and feels Canadians have accepted her as she is.

Rachel Clark once served in the U.S. Marine Corps. But she didn't feel accepted until she moved to Canada.

Rachel Clark is a new Canadian citizen and proud to show it, but feeling proud about who she is didn't always come easy to the immigrant from Upstate New York. 1:55

This story is part of Becoming Canadian, a year-long project sharing stories of struggle and triumph from new Canadian citizens, and a six-part television series premiering June 26 on CBC-TV.

Rachel Clark is a new Canadian citizen and proud to show it, but feeling proud about who she is didn't always come easy to the immigrant from Upstate New York. 

"I'm an only child. My father hoped for a son, but got me, an effeminate boy who preferred dolls," Clark says. "At age eight, I knew I wanted to be girl but I kept it a secret. I was scared."

Clark says serving in the U.S. Armed Forces taught her the values of freedom and patriotism, but that it wasn't until she moved to Canada and began living openly as a woman, fell in love and had a family in Toronto that she really understood what those values meant. 

I'm forever grateful to Canadians for standing up and saying, 'we believe in the rights of  marginalized  people.'

"I'm forever grateful to Canadians for standing up and saying, 'we believe in the rights of marginalized people. We believe that people should be free to be who they are to do what they want,'" Clark says. 

​To find more stories about the struggles and triumphs of new Canadian citizens, follow Canada 2017 on Facebook and @BecomingCDN on Instagram and Twitter.

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