Dr Oz: Jazz Jennings, Growing Up Transgender + Time Magazine

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Dr Oz: Transgender Teen Jazz Jennings

As Dr Oz explained, from the moment a baby is born, a gender is identified and that child is labeled as either boy or girl. But for some, like Jazz, they are assigned a certain gender at birth, only to identify as the opposite. Jazz was born a boy, but now identifies and lives as a girl. Jazz shared a picture of her when she was younger, living as a boy. She tells people that she has a girl brain and a boy body.

Dr Oz: Jazz Jennings, Growing Up Transgender + Time Magazine

Dr Oz talked to Jazz Jennings, the transgender teen that is raising awareness and fighting for acceptance. (gazeronly / flickr)

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Jazz’s parents were married in 1993 and Ari was born in 1995. Ari was two when their twins were born, and they thought they were done having children until baby Jazz came along. Jazz’s parents noticed things were a little different early on because Jazz liked to play with girl toys and had no interest in boy things. The older she got, the more persistent Jazz became, and Jazz’s mother realized it was more than a phase.

Dr Oz: Growing Up Transgender

Jazz explained that she wants to be a girl because that’s who she is inside and out. At her fifth birthday party, she got to wear a girl bathing suit and was very excited about it. Jazz’s parents basically told society at that point that they were going to “allow Jazz to be Jazz.” She started kindergarten as a girl and her parents knew it was the right thing to do.

Jazz’s father shared that he and his wife will never stop fighting for Jazz, and will explain things to people as necessary, in order to give Jazz the right that every other person has. Jazz said she thought she was made wrong, but now she knows there’s nothing wrong with her because she loves herself.

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Dr Oz: Diagnosed With Gender Dysphoria At Age 3

Jazz Jennings, now 14 years old, joined Dr Oz. Jazz said she always knew she was a girl, and was always attracted to anything feminine. When she was 3 years old, her parents took her to the doctor and she was diagnosed with what is now called gender dysphoria. Her parents were told to embrace her and love her for who she is, which is exactly what they did. Now, Jazz said she’s a confident teen.

Dr Oz wanted to discuss the birthday party Jazz went to in a girls’ bathing suit. Jazz said she was nervous, but she was so happy because it was the first time she would be presented as a girl to all of her friends and the public. She said it was the happiest day in the first five years of her life, and was like a turning point for her.

Dr Oz: Facing Resistance From School Leaders

When she started kindergarten, she went to school as a girl, and Jazz explained that she actually received a lot of resistance from the school at first. They were opposed to the idea of a little boy coming to the school dressing as a girl. They didn’t want her to dress as a girl, use female pronouns, or use the girls’ bathroom. Fortunately, she was allowed to dress as a girl and use female pronouns, but had to use the boys’ bathroom until she was in fifth grade. Jazz shared that she would often have accidents because she didn’t want to go to the nurse’s bathroom so she would hold it in.

Dr Oz: Transgender Teen Dealing With Bullying

Jazz shared that she certainly experienced bullying, but said she understood that a lot of it was coming from people who don’t understand or are just plain ignorant. She said if they’re ignorant and don’t want to know, then they’re not worth it.

Jazz said she understood that at her age, dating is a big thing and it’s definitely something she’s thought about. She said she’s not as “into it” as other girls because she’s not “boy crazy.” She said she knows she had to be cautious because some boys out there won’t accept her and could hurt her.

Dr Oz: Hormone Replacement + Parental Support

At age 11, male hormones kick in when a male goes through puberty. When this process began for Jazz, she started taking medications. She said she didn’t want to look like a boy, so she got an implant in her arm that blocks all testosterone to ensure that she won’t develop as a male.

Dr Oz then welcomed Jazz’s mom, Jenna, to join them on stage. Jenna shared that when her daughter started showing signs of male development, she knew she had no choice because statistics show there’s a 50% chance she would eventually attempt suicide if they didn’t take the road that they did. She said, “I didn’t want a dead son, I wanted a live daughter.”

Dr Oz: Jazz Jennings ‘Time’ Magazine

Jazz then shared that she as on hormone replacement therapy and takes estrogen tablets to help her develop like a girl. She’ll continue taking those for the rest of her life. In a few years, as she approaches adulthood, she’ll begin to think about the surgery.

Jazz was actually recently named one of Time Magazine‘s Most Influential Teens. Jazz said her greatest hope is that one day the world will be a better place where people can live in harmony and we can all accept each other no matter our differences. A lot of transgender kids will write to her, and those letters assure her that she’s doing the right thing by sharing her story, and she has to continue helping other people.

Dr Oz: How Transgender Teen Is Helping Others

Dr Oz then welcomed a transgender man named Joey, who wrote to the show about Jazz. Joey shared that he was 22 years old and had been transitioning for about two years. When he first came out, he was terrified, as was his mother, although she was supportive of him. But one day his mom showed him Jazz’s story, and it was the first time they emotionally connected about his transition. He said he wouldn’t “be on the same wavelength” with his mother if it weren’t for Jazz, despite how much younger she is. He thanked her for being her, and then thanked Jazz’s mom.

Jazz ended with “everyone deserves to be accepted for who they are.” Jazz has a documentary series, I Am Jazz, airing Wednesdays on TLC.

How did Jazz’s story make you feel? Are you proud of her for staying true to herself? Do you agree with her parents supporting her journey?

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