Jazz Jennings, star of the TLC show I Am Jazz, rose to fame after telling her story about transitioning, which has been documented on her popular TLC show. While some people wait until later in life to transition, such as Caitlyn Jenner, Jazz made the decision at a very young age. But just how young was the reality television star when she knew she wasn’t the gender she believed she was supposed to be?
Jazz Jennings | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Unilever/Dove
Jennings’ television show has chronicled her life while coping with being a little different
On the show I am Jazz, Jennings lives an entirely normal life among her family and friends. And while it’s generally an uncommon issue to deal with (fewer than 1% of people in the United States identify as transgender), her friends and family have accepted her outright. But that doesn’t mean it’s been so easy among the general public. On the show, Jazz is growing up, and not only is her life being documented, but all of the hormonal changes, surgeries, and emotions she deals with as a transgender woman are being documented as well.
But there was never a doubt in Jennings’ mind that she was not meant to be a boy — even before she could fully speak
Jennings told Time that the question she gets asked most often is, “When did you know you were meant to be a female?” And the answer to her is simple: She always knew. Jennings said that from the time she was a toddler, she taught herself to button her onesie in a certain way so that she could wear it as a dress. She used to constantly borrow her sister’s clothes and would cry and scream when her mother tried to dress her like a boy.
Jennings’ parents brought her to her pediatrician and explained that she was extremely resistant to general male stereotypes (playing with trucks, wearing shorts and t shirts, etc.). Her doctor suggested they bring her to a child psychologist. At age three, her parents finally brought her, realizing that she was not going through any sort of phase. The psychologist eventually told them that she was, in fact, transgender.
Since then, Jennings has been living her life as a female. At age 11, her doctors prescribed her hormone blockers to prevent her from going through male puberty. In June 2018, at the age of 17, Jennings underwent her gender confirmation surgery, officially making her a biological female.
Making the decision to transition comes with a lot of backlash
While Jennings is proud of who she is, it is still an uphill battle trying to get everyone to accept her. She has expressed that she is interested in boys, but according to Daily Mail, she has a difficult time finding love because of her situation. And some social media backlash has come from well-known people, too. In August 2017, Derick Dillard, the husband of Jill Duggar and co-star of TLC’s Counting On, tweeted harsh criticism about Jennings for her transition. (He is no longer on Counting On.) While Jennings’ friends and family love her no matter what, and she’s proud and happy to share her journey with so many who care, the transition hasn’t always been emotionally easy.
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