Jazz Jennings is, in a lot of ways, like any other fourteen-year-old girl: she works hard to balance school, her friends and her family, and as a soon-to-be high schooler, is learning to navigate her way through young adulthood. But there’s also something uniquely special about Jazz: raised initially as a young boy, Jazz let her family know nearly as soon as she could speak that she was really a girl, and from the age of 5, has lived her life as such. As her dad, Greg, puts it, they’re “an ordinary family with an extraordinary circumstance.”
Her story is nothing short of inspiring, due in large part to the support she receives from her loving parents, Greg and Jeanette, and her three siblings, sister Ari and twin brothers Griffen and Sander. She’s embraced her position as a role model, speaking as an advocate for the transgender community around the country. But there’s also something unremarkable about Jazz; for all intents and purposes, she’s just like millions of other teenagers out there. It’s a clear message to viewers that while being transgender is inextricably linked to one’s self identity, it doesn’t mean it defines your entire being. On the contrary, gender identity is one of many characteristics that make each one of us different from one another.
Working at Discovery, we’re fortunate to have talent from shows across our networks occasionally visit and share their stories with us, answering questions and talking candidly with employees. A few weeks ago, Jazz and her parents came to our HQ in Silver Spring. Jazz was humble and earnest; employees praised her for being a young trailblazer, and while she spoke about some of the struggles she faces, she acknowledged that she is one of many other transgender youth facing similar challenges. It’s sometimes hard to believe she’s only in the ninth grade!
I Am Jazz premieres tonight on TLC at 10/9c. Learn more about Jazz by reading her interviews with The Huffington Post, Entertainment Weekly and Mashable, and take a look at the sneak peek below of what’s to come in the series.