Profiles of Transgender Courage: Jazz Jennings

Jazz Jennings is an American transgender girl. She is a YouTube personality, spokesmodel, and LGBTQ+ rights activist. She was born in South Florida in 2000 and was diagnosed in 2004 with gender identity disorder. This makes her one of the youngest people to be identified as transgender. She made it very clear at a young age that she was female, asking for feminine clothing instead of gender-neutral clothing. By the age of six, she was appearing on various news programs and talk shows with her parents discussing the difficulties of living as a young transgender person. Her parents founded the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation, an organization that assists transgender youth, in 2007. She has also had a few books published that discuss her life and transgender rights in general.

A documentary about her life entitled I Am Jazz: A Family in Transition, aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network in 2011. It discusses the entire experience she and her family have had during her transition. That same year she was entrenched in a legal battle with the United States Soccer Federation. The USSF is the governing body of the sport and refused to allow her to play for a girls team.  The National Center for Lesbian Rights came to her aide and they succeeded in changing the USSF's policies, allowing transgender students to play in the sport on teams that matched their gender identities.Two years later Jazz founded a company called Purple Rainbow Tails where she makes rubber mermaid tails in order to raise money for transgender kids. She also co-wrote her first book I Am Jazz, a childrens book, that same year.

In 2014 was a huge year of recognition for Jennings. She was a guest at the GLAAD Media Awards and was also recognized by Time Magazine as one of "The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014". She also became the youngest person ever featured on OUT's "Out 100" and  the Advocate's "40 Under 40" lists. She was also named in OUT''s 2014 Trans 100 list, named a Human Rights Campaign Youth Ambassador, and received LogoTV's 2014 Youth Trailblazer Award.

Jennings has modeled for Johnson & Johnson in a campaign for their Clean and Clear commercials entitled "See the real me". She has also modeled for the NOH8 campaign. She also wrote a piece about Laverne Cox for Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People" list. In 2015, TLC aired the program I Am Jazz a reality series featuring her and her family. It has been part of TLC's programming for two seasons so far. She published her memoir Being Jazz; My Life as a (Transgender) Teen in 2016.  Recently, she was kind of the subject of some controversy when dollmaker Robert Tonner designed a doll modeled and named after her. Many collecters and parents were not fond of the idea. Additionally, some parents also became upset when her childrens book was included in some schools summer reading lists.

Jazz Jennings has done a great deal of work for transgender people, especially transgender kids and youth. At such a young age she has accomplished so much and placed herself on the forefront of transgender issues at a time where there is a lot of discussion and varying opinions about our community. It takes such great courage just to be transgender and to be so active in the community, but, in my opinion, to do so at such a young age makes her one of the most courageous members of our community.

Kristelle's Story: Table of Contents