Jazz Jennings became one of the youngest transgender people to publicly document her life at the age of six in 2007. Now, she is opening up about her time in the spotlight and the growing number of anti-trans bills in 2021.
The 20-year-old became a role model in the transgender community after an ABC “20:20” interview with Barbara Walters where she later went on to publicly document her life. She has since starred in six seasons of her own TLC reality show “I am Jazz.”
In an interview with Variety, Jennings spoke about what it’s like to have broken so many barriers. Jennings credits her family, who have been supportive over the years, for her success and ability to be vulnerable.
“It was hard to decide how open I should be just because so many large-profile transgender people don’t talk about their surgeries,” she said. “But for me, I just think I wanted to educate as many people as possible on the experience and what it’s like to go through it firsthand.”
Jennings also spoke about how frustrating the record-breaking wave of anti-trans bills being proposed in state legislatures this year are. She said that lawmakers need to listen to trans kids, who know who they are and don’t need anyone else policing their identities.
She hopes to one day see a federal law passed to protect trans kids, one that will prevent these state bills from having influence on their lives.
“Never underestimate the power of kids. They’re smart!” she said. “So often people are like, ‘Kids don’t know better.’ But the kids do know, and we should be listening to them because they’re more connected to their spirit and to their soul than a lot of adults are.”