Jazz Jennings (born October 6, 2000) is an American YouTube personality, spokesmodel, television personality, and LGBT rights activist. Jennings, a transgender teenage girl, is notable for being one of the youngest publicly documented people to be identified as transgender, and for being the youngest person to become a national transgender figure.
Jazz Jennings at the New York City Pride parade in 2016
October 6, 2000 |
|Occupation||Student and television personality|
|Years active||c. 2006–present|
|Notable work||Being Jazz (2016)|
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." Her parents noted that Jennings was clear on being female as soon as she could speak.
Jennings is an honorary co-founder of the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation, which she and 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.
Jennings hosts a series of YouTube videos about her life, titled "I Am Jazz", making her one of the youngest trans women in history to speak out on issues publicly. Jennings stars in the TLC reality TV series, I Am Jazz, which focuses on her life with her family as a teenager and as a transgender youth. The series premiered on July 15, 2015.
Jennings was born in South Florida to parents Greg and Jeanette ("Jennings" is a pseudonym). The family is Jewish, and their last name is "a very Jewish, long last name." Jennings has an older sister, Ari, and two older brothers, twins Sander and Griffen.
Jennings was assigned male at birth. In 2004, Jennings was diagnosed with gender identity disorder at five years old, making her one of the youngest publicly documented people to be identified as transgender. 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.
At six years old, Jennings and her family began appearing on television to speak about the challenges of growing up transgender. Her story has been covered by national television shows 20/20 and The Rosie Show, where she appeared alongside Chaz Bono.
In 2013, Jennings founded Purple Rainbow Tails, a company in which she fashions rubber mermaid tails to raise money for transgender children. 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.
That September, Jennings co-wrote a children's book, I Am Jazz, with Jessica Herthel, the director of the Stonewall National Education Project. The book details her life as a transgender child.
In 2014, Jennings was a guest at the GLAAD Media Awards, sharing the stage with Zach Wahls and Lauren Foster. 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. 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.
In March 2015, Johnson & Johnson announced a deal for Jennings to appear in Clean & Clear commercials. 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. She also authored a piece for Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People List, writing the entry for Laverne Cox.
In 2016, Jennings published a memoir, Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen.
In 2012, Jennings discussed her sexual orientation with Barbara Walters during her 20/20 interview, saying she is attracted to boys and that she harbored some apprehension about dating because of her transgender identity. In a Q&A video posted to her YouTube channel in July 2014, Jennings stated that she is pansexual, and that she loves people "for their personality", regardless of their sexual orientation or gender status.
On April 11, 2018 People magazine reported Jennings said she was scheduled to have gender confirmation surgery on June 20, 2018. She acknowledged her surgeons insisted she lose at least 30 pounds (14 kg), prior to her surgery, and that she had succeeded in losing more weight than required.
- "Instagram post". Instagram. 6 October 2017.
- Nichols, James Michael (14 March 2015). "Jazz Jennings, Transgender Teen, Becomes Face Of Clean & Clear Campaign". The Huffington Post.
- Grinberg, Emanuella (19 March 2015). "Why transgender teen Jazz Jennings is everywhere". CNN.
- CNN, Emanuella Grinberg,. "Why transgender teen Jazz Jennings is everywhere - CNN". CNN. Retrieved 2018-02-20.
- Goldberg, Alan B.; Adriano, Joneil (27 April 2007). "I'm a Girl: Understanding Transgender Children". ABC News.
- Jennings, Jazz (17 December 2012). "I am Jazz". YouTube.
- "Transgender Teen Jazz Jennings Will Star in TLC TV Series 'I Am Jazz'". The Learning Channel. Retrieved 7 Jul 2015.
- Menendez, Alicia; Redman, Meagan; Effron, Lauren (14 July 2015). "'I Am Jazz': Transgender Teen on Grappling with High School, Puberty". ABC News.
- Goldberg, Alan B.; Adriano, Joneil (27 April 2007). "'I'm a Girl' — Understanding Transgender Children". TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation.
- Friedman, Gabe (28 June 2016). "9 Jewish LGBTQ activists you should know". The Times of Israel.
- Mendenhall, Christina (25 June 2015). "Growing Up Transgender: Jazz Jennings". Miami Herald.
- Mock, Janet (25 November 2011). "Transgender Child Jazz & Mom Discuss 'I Am Jazz' Documentary - Janet Mock". Janet Mock.
- Prowse-Gany, Brian. "The New Face of Transgender Youth". Yahoo!. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
- "I'm a Girl: Understanding Transgender Children". ABC News. 27 June 2008.
- Nunn, Jerry (30 November 2011). "Transgender pre-teen Jazz Jennings on her documentary". Windy City Times.
- Galehouse, Maggie (September 15, 2014). "Jazz Jennings shares story of her triumphs, struggles as a transgender child in 'I Am Jazz'". Houston Chronicle.
- "Who We Are". TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
- Linster, The (28 November 2011). ""I Am Jazz" is a heartwarming look at a transgender 11-year-old". AfterEllen.
- Zeigler, Cyd (23 January 2013). "Transgender 11-year-old Jazz is playing soccer, hoping to date boys". Out Sports.
- Herthel, Jessica (5 September 2014). "Why I Wrote a Book About a Transgender Child". The Huffington Post.
- 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 19 September 2014.
- Graff, Amy (22 September 2014). "Jazz Jenning's [sic] New Children's Book Tells Transgender Story". San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Jazz Jennings Pictures - 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards Presented By Ketel One And Wells Fargo - Dinner And Show". Zimbio. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- Feeney, Nolan (13 October 2014). "Most Influential Teens 2014". Time. p. 4.
- Sherouse, Beth (16 October 2014). "HRC Foundation Introduces Youth Ambassadors". Human Rights Campaign.
- Alcindor, Yamiche (14 March 2015). "Transgender teen Jazz Jennings lands Clean & Clear campaign". USA Today.
- Jennings, Jazz (16 April 2015). "Laverne Cox". Time.
- Schoenberg, Nara. "Transgender teen growing up in spotlight talks about bullying, depression". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
- Fortin, Jacey (February 17, 2017). "Transgender Doll Based on Jazz Jennings to Debut in New York". Business. New York Times. Archived from the original on February 17, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
- CNN, Alexandra Larkin,. "Teen inspires first transgender doll".
- "Jazz a Transgender Child: Q&A". YouTube. 2014-01-01. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
- "Jazz, 12-Year-Old Transgender Girl, On Her Desire To Become A Mother". The Huffington Post. 3 April 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- Amato, Laura (22 July 2015). "Greg & Jeanette Jennings, 'I Am Jazz': 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy.com.
- Alexia Fernandez (April 11, 2018). "Jazz Jennings on track for gender confirmation surgery". People magazine.
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.