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Jazz Jennings

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Jazz Jennings
Jennings, dressed in LGBT pride wear, smiles to parade outlookers from a convertible car.
Jazz Jennings at the New York City Pride parade in 2016
Born (2000-10-06) October 6, 2000 (age 23)
Florida, U.S.
Occupation(s)Student and television personality
Years activec. 2006–present
Known for

Jazz Jennings (born October 6, 2000)[1] is an American YouTube personality, spokesmodel, television personality, and LGBT rights activist.[2][3] Jennings is one of the youngest publicly documented people to be identified as transgender.[3] Jennings received national attention in 2007 when an interview with Barbara Walters aired on 20/20, which led to other high-profile interviews and appearances. Christine Connelly, a member of the board of directors for the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth, stated, "She was the first young person who picked up the national spotlight, went on TV and was able to articulate her perspective and point of view with such innocence."[3] Her parents noted that Jennings was clear on being female as soon as she could speak.[4][5]

Jennings is an honorary co-founder of the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation, which her parents founded in 2007 to assist transgender youth. In 2013, she founded Purple Rainbow Tails, a company in which she fashions rubber mermaid tails to raise money for transgender children.[6] Jennings hosts a series of YouTube videos about her life, titled "I Am Jazz".[3][7] She stars in the TLC reality TV series, I Am Jazz, which premiered in 2015 and focuses on her daily life with her family and the challenges she faces as a transgender person.[3][8]

Early life and education

Jennings was born in Florida to parents Greg and Jeanette.[9][4][5] She has an older sister, Ari, and older twin brothers Sander and Griffen.[10] The family is Jewish.[11] Regarding the last name, Jeanette explained that "Jennings is our pseudonym, to sort of make life easier. We try to hide our real last name as much as possible...Our last name is a very Jewish, long last name."[12]

Jennings was assigned male at birth and was diagnosed with gender dysphoria by age four, making her one of the youngest publicly documented people to be identified as transgender.[13] Jennings made it clear as soon as she could speak that she was female, and, although the family presented her publicly in gender-neutral clothing, she wanted to be presented in feminine clothing.[4]

As a child, Jennings went to Camp Aranu'tiq, the first sleepaway camp for transgender children.[14] She graduated from Broward Virtual School in 2019 and was the valedictorian of her class. She was accepted to Harvard University, but delayed entry for a year.[15][16]


Jazz with trans activist and author Abby Stein at the 2016 Philadelphia Trans Health Conference. They were both named as one of the "9 Jewish LGBTQ Activists You Should Know" by JTA and TOI.

At six years old, Jennings and her family began appearing on television to speak about the challenges of growing up transgender.[17] Her story has been covered by national television shows 20/20[7][17] and The Rosie Show,[18] where she appeared alongside Chaz Bono.

In 2007, Jennings's parents founded TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation to assist transgender youth; she is an honorary co-founder of the organization.[19][20]

In 2011, I Am Jazz: A Family in Transition, a documentary about her life and family, premiered on the Oprah Winfrey Network.[21]

In 2013, Jennings founded Purple Rainbow Tails, a company in which she fashions rubber mermaid tails to raise money for transgender children.[19][20] That same year, in a follow-up interview with Barbara Walters on 20/20, they discussed Jennings' two-and-a-half-year battle with the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), the governing US body for the sport, to allow her to play on girls' teams. Aided by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, she succeeded in changing the USSF's policies to allow trans students to play.[22]

Jennings co-wrote the 2014 children's book, I Am Jazz, with Jessica Herthel, the director of the Stonewall National Education Project.[23] The book details her life as a transgender child.[2][24][25] According to libertarian magazine Reason, "I Am Jazz is one of the most banned books in the [United States]".[26]

In 2014, Jennings was a guest at the GLAAD Media Awards, sharing the stage with Zach Wahls and Lauren Foster.[27] That year she was also named one of "The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014" by Time, and recognized as the youngest person ever featured on Out's "Out 100" and Advocate's "40 Under 40" lists.[28] She was also named in OUT's 2014 Trans 100 list,[29] named a Human Rights Campaign Youth Ambassador, and received LogoTV's 2014 Youth Trailblazer Award.[29] In March 2015, Johnson & Johnson announced a deal for Jennings to appear in Clean & Clear commercials.[30] Jennings became a spokesmodel for Clean & Clear's "See The Real Me" digital campaign and shared "the trials of growing up transgender." She also modeled for the NOH8 Campaign.[3] She also authored a piece for Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People List, writing the entry for Laverne Cox.[31]

The day-to-day life of Jennings and her family is documented in the TLC reality series I Am Jazz, which debuted in July 2015.[30][32] The seventh season premiered on November 30, 2021.[33] In 2016, Jennings published a memoir, Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen.[34]

In 2017, Robert Tonner and the Tonner Doll Company announced plans to produce a doll modeled after Jennings.[35] It was to be the first doll to be marketed as transgender.[36] The same year, Jennings voiced a teenage transgender character, Zadie, in the season finale of the Amazon Video animated series Danger & Eggs, who sings about acceptance, helping the two protagonists understand the meaning of a chosen family.[37][38][39][40] Jennings described the experience as "groundbreaking," saying she was proud to be part of the show, especially in an episode that takes place at "a Pride event," saying it makes the role significant, meaningful, powerful, and special.[41] In 2018, it was announced Jennings would star in a short film called Denim.[42] It would focus on a transgender teen named Micayla and the events following the viral release of a photo of her in the girls' bathroom taken by a former friend. It was released to Amazon Prime Video on July 20, 2019.[43] In 2019, Jennings made a guest appearance on the fifteenth season of the ABC program, What Would You Do? Jennings voiced the character Lily the Fairy in the 2019 episode "Cedric & the Fairies" of The Bravest Knight, an animated series.[44]

Personal life

In 2012, Jennings discussed her sexual orientation with Barbara Walters during her 20/20 interview, saying she was romantically attracted to boys and that she harbored some apprehension about dating because of her transgender identity. In a Q&A video on her YouTube channel in July 2014, Jennings said that she was pansexual, and that she loved people "for their personality", regardless of their sexual orientation and gender.[45] In 2013, Jennings publicly discussed her wish to become a mother in the future.[46][47]

Medical complications

In an interview published in the April 11, 2018, issue of People, Jennings said that, per her surgeons' instructions, she had lost at least 30 pounds (14 kg) in order to have gender reassignment surgery, which was scheduled for June 20, 2018.[48] The surgery was successful,[49] but was followed by complications that required another procedure.[50] The surgery was performed by Dr. Jess Ting and Dr. Marci Bowers.[51]

Jennings has said she struggles with mental illness and weight gain.[52] In an Instagram post, Jennings said she has binge eating disorder.[53] After her acceptance to Harvard, Jennings began to binge eat, gaining nearly 100 pounds, which caused her to delay her entry into college. She has said that her family has fat shamed her.[54]


  1. ^ "Instagram post". Instagram. October 6, 2017. Archived from the original on December 23, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Nichols, James Michael (March 14, 2015). "Jazz Jennings, Transgender Teen, Becomes Face Of Clean & Clear Campaign". HuffPost.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Grinberg, Emanuella (March 19, 2015). "Why transgender teen Jazz Jennings is everywhere". CNN.
  4. ^ a b c Goldberg, Alan B.; Adriano, Joneil (April 27, 2007). "I'm a Girl: Understanding Transgender Children". ABC News. Archived from the original on July 1, 2008.
  5. ^ a b Goldberg, Alan B.; Adriano, Joneil (April 27, 2007). "'I'm a Girl' — Understanding Transgender Children". TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation. Archived from the original on February 19, 2012.
  6. ^ "TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation". TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Jennings, Jazz (December 17, 2012). "I am Jazz" – via YouTube.
  8. ^ "Transgender Teen Jazz Jennings Will Star in TLC TV Series 'I Am Jazz'". TLC. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  9. ^ Menendez, Alicia; Redman, Meagan; Effron, Lauren (July 14, 2015). "'I Am Jazz': Transgender Teen on Grappling with High School, Puberty". ABC News.
  10. ^ Mock, Janet (November 25, 2011). "Transgender Child Jazz & Mom Discuss 'I Am Jazz' Documentary". Janet Mock.
  11. ^ Friedman, Gabe (June 28, 2016). "9 Jewish LGBTQ activists you should know". The Times of Israel.
  12. ^ Mendenhall, Christina (June 25, 2015). "Growing Up Transgender: Jazz Jennings". Miami Herald.
  13. ^ Prowse-Gany, Brian (October 22, 2014). "The New Face of Transgender Youth". Yahoo!. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  14. ^ Bigam, Kate (July 6, 2016). "Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen". ReformJudaism.org. Archived from the original on October 11, 2019. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  15. ^ Diaz, Johnny (October 2, 2019). "South Florida trans teen Jazz Jennings delays start at Harvard University". Sun-Sentinel.
  16. ^ Diaz, Johnny (June 3, 2019). "Harvard-bound Jazz Jennings graduates from Broward school". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  17. ^ a b "I'm a Girl: Understanding Transgender Children". ABC News. June 27, 2008.
  18. ^ Nunn, Jerry (November 30, 2011). "Transgender pre-teen Jazz Jennings on her documentary". Windy City Times.
  19. ^ a b Galehouse, Maggie (September 15, 2014). "Jazz Jennings shares story of her triumphs, struggles as a transgender child in 'I Am Jazz'". Houston Chronicle.
  20. ^ a b "Who We Are". TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  21. ^ Linster, The (November 28, 2011). ""I Am Jazz" is a heartwarming look at a transgender 11-year-old". AfterEllen. Archived from the original on June 6, 2018. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  22. ^ Zeigler, Cyd (January 23, 2013). "Transgender 11-year-old Jazz is playing soccer, hoping to date boys". Out Sports.
  23. ^ Herthel, Jessica (September 5, 2014). "Why I Wrote a Book About a Transgender Child". HuffPost.
  24. ^ Rothaus, Steve (June 25, 2014). "Jazz Jennings, a 13-year-old trans girl, reads from her upcoming children's book (with video)". Miami Herald. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  25. ^ Graff, Amy (September 22, 2014). "Jazz Jenning's [sic] New Children's Book Tells Transgender Story". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on September 24, 2014. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  26. ^ Shackford, Scott (July 11, 2022). "Trans Author Jennings' I Am Jazz Is One of the Most Banned Books in the U.S." Reason. Retrieved July 12, 2022.
  27. ^ "Jazz Jennings Pictures - 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards Presented By Ketel One And Wells Fargo - Dinner And Show". Zimbio. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  28. ^ Feeney, Nolan (October 13, 2014). "The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014". Time. p. 4.
  29. ^ a b Sherouse, Beth (October 16, 2014). "HRC Foundation Introduces Youth Ambassadors". Human Rights Campaign. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  30. ^ a b Alcindor, Yamiche (March 14, 2015). "Transgender teen Jazz Jennings lands Clean & Clear campaign". USA Today.
  31. ^ Jennings, Jazz (April 16, 2015). "Laverne Cox". Time.
  32. ^ Silver, Marc (July 13, 2015). "'I Am Jazz' is the latest in this summer's transgender reality show boom". The Washington Post.
  33. ^ Fabiano, Jillian (November 29, 2021). "Jazz Jennings Is Ready to 'Begin the Next Chapter' in Honest I Am Jazz Sneak Peek". E!.
  34. ^ Schoenberg, Nara (June 17, 2016). "Transgender teen growing up in spotlight talks about bullying, depression". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  35. ^ Fortin, Jacey (February 17, 2017). "Transgender Doll Based on Jazz Jennings to Debut in New York". Business. The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 17, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  36. ^ Larkin, Alexandra. "Teen inspires first transgender doll". CNN.
  37. ^ Bendix, Trish (July 3, 2017). ""Danger And Eggs" Is The Queer Cartoon We've Been Waiting For". NewNowNext. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  38. ^ Rude, Mey (July 1, 2017). ""Danger & Eggs" Is The Greatest Weirdest Queer-and-Trans Inclusive Kids Show Ever". Autostraddle. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  39. ^ Guerrero, Desirée (November 21, 2017). "Wait, You Never Heard of Danger and Eggs?". The Advocate. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  40. ^ Jusino, Teresa (July 18, 2017). "Why Amazon's Danger and Eggs Is One of the Best Things to Happen to LGBTQIA Representation". The Mary Sue. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  41. ^ Rude, Mey (July 24, 2017). "The Cast and Crew of "Danger & Eggs" Chat About Their Super Weird, Super Queer Kids Show". Autostraddle. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  42. ^ "'I Am Jazz' Teen Jazz Jennings Raising $8,000 For Transgender Film". 2paragraphs.
  43. ^ "Trans teen Jazz Jennings stars in new Amazon Prime film". Sun Sentinel. November 21, 2019.
  44. ^ Sandoval, Lapacazo (September 5, 2019). "What's Wrong With Hulu's "The Bravest Knight"?". Los Angeles Sentinel. Archived from the original on October 27, 2020. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  45. ^ "Jazz a Transgender Child: Q&A". January 1, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2015 – via YouTube.
  46. ^ "Jazz, 12-Year-Old Transgender Girl, On Her Desire To Become A Mother". HuffPost. April 3, 2013. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  47. ^ Amato, Laura (July 22, 2015). "Greg & Jeanette Jennings, 'I Am Jazz': 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy.com.
  48. ^ Fernandez, Alexia (April 11, 2018). "Jazz Jennings on track for gender confirmation surgery". People. The star of I Am Jazz opened up to PEOPLE about her recent weight loss, which was required for her surgery in June, while at the Rising Stars Luncheon at the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards on Wednesday in Beverly Hills, California.
  49. ^ Jensen, Erin (June 29, 2018). "Jazz Jennings is all smiles after gender confirmation surgery". USA Today. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  50. ^ Sanchez, Rosa (October 16, 2018). "Jazz Jennings Reveals She Suffered Complication During Gender Confirmation Surgery". Radar Online. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  51. ^ "I Am Jazz: Big Trouble In The Big Apple". Mount Sinai. January 23, 2018. Archived from the original on February 7, 2020.
  52. ^ "Jazz Jennings Grapples with Binge-Eating Disorder as She Prepares for Harvard in I Am Jazz Trailer". People. Retrieved February 14, 2023.
  53. ^ Ryu, Edward Segarra and Jenna. "Jazz Jennings reveals 'mental health struggles' led to binge eating in 'I Am Jazz' trailer". USA TODAY. Retrieved February 14, 2023.
  54. ^ Migdon, Brooke (November 3, 2021). "Reality star Jazz Jennings opens up about mental health and weight gain in new season". The Hill. Retrieved February 14, 2023.

External links