In 2007 when I started delivering Transgender Awareness Training I searched for hours to find a good short video I could use to help people understand why we have this need to change gender. The best video I cold find was a 45 minute documentary produced by ABC in the USA and hosted by Barbara Walters called 20/20 My Secret Self. You can see this video either as a whole or in 5 parts on my Transgender Children page.
One of the children profiled in that documentary was six year old Jazz Jennings. Since then Jazz, now 14 years old, and her family have continued to promote transgender awareness. In 2014 Jazz published a book co-written with Jessica Herthel and was names as one of the 25 most influential teenagers in the USA. Her positive messages are making a real difference and I believe contributing to more gender variant children being able to come out. The unconditional support of her family is providing a role model that is helping helping other parents of gender variant children to face the challenges and hostility and create a safe space for their children to grow up as they choose.
Below are some of the videos exploring the life of this remarkable young trans girl and her family - and I hope they are as inspirational for you as they are for me.
2014 Equality Florida Broward Gala
On Sunday 16th November 2014 the Equality Florida Broward Gala recognised Jazz Jennings by awarding her their Voice for Equality Award. This is hot on the heals of her recognition as one of the 25 most influential teenagers in 2014 by Time magazine. The Video is of her acceptance speech at the Florida awards, important to her as a south Florida resident, but also clearly showing why this amazingly articulate and positive trans girl is making waves and changing attitudes.
Jazz Jennings with Katie Couric | Yahoo News
This short video features and interview with Yahoo news Global Anchor Katie Couric. Although generally a positive interview Katie keeps introducing questions about the discrimination, hostility and bigotry facing trans people, but introducing this as if it was understandable that people would think that way. Jazz handles those questions and topics with remarkable skill. What shocked me about this was the clips of anti trans pressure groups and restroom notices warning people to use the restroom at their own risk because trans people also are allowed in. We may have come a long way in the past decade - but Jazz, myself and other trans activists still have a long way to go before trans people can life safely in society and just be ourselves.
Meet Jazz: The 14-year-old face of the trans community
An excellent interview with Alicia Menendez just after the launch of her new childen's book I am Jazz co authored with Jessica Herthel. The video includes a number of short video clips of the highlights of her eventful life sine appearing in the Barbara Walters My Secret Self Documentary. The book is aimed a young children of primary school age to help them to understand what Transgender is all about. I do hope that schools in the UK take the opportunity to use this to help them to teach and talk about this topic because I know that at present they seem to have a real challenge addressing the topic. The book is available in hardback and on Kindle - just follow the links to Amazon below
I am Jazz – A Family in Transition
This inspiring 40 minute documentary was produced in 2012 when Jazz was about 11 years old and on the verge of puberty. What it shows is a family 100% united in support of jazz being when she is and doing whatever it takes to make sure that she is happy and able to be herself. What I found interesting is that she has absolutely know problems with the fact that she started life as a boy an is now a girl - there are pictures on the wall in her house of her as a boy and she is comfortable with that where often trans children and adults hate seeing pictures of themselves in their birth gender. Jazz has an attitude that her life is great and the wonderful things that a happening are only happening because she is trans - so being trans much be a good thing.
This video does look at how Jazz and her parents have addressed the issue of hormone blocking and as part of that process the family listened to stories of trans people who did not have the opportunity to block hormones and transition early. Overall this is an hugely inspirational video and one any parent with a gender variant child should make sure they watch.