Girl Wonder: Meet One of the Youngest Champions of Transgender Equality
Photo courtesy of Jazz Jennings
Jazz Jennings is a typical teenage girl. She posts videos on YouTube, loves hanging out with her friends, and is obsessed with her cats: "One's name is Nemo because he has an ear that's a little nub like Nemo's lucky fin." But there's a major difference between the 14-year-old Jennings and her friends: A camera crew is filming her for TLC's docuseries I Am Jazz, premiering July 15, which follows the transgender teen as she navigates adolescence. "I wanted to share my story by just being me," she says.
Jennings is no stranger to TV. At age 6, she was one of three kids interviewed by Barbara Walters for the 20/20 episode "My Secret Self," about trans youth. Since then, she's become a transgender rights advocate, filming news specials (including a documentary on OWN in 2011) and serving as a Human Rights Campaign Foundation youth ambassador. This year she became a face of Clean & Clear's "See the Real Me" initiative.
And that YouTube fixation? It's earned Jennings millions of views, thanks to videos of her singing like Christina Aguilera and playing a game called the whisper challenge. She's sharing the TV spotlight this summer with her parents, grandparents, older twin brothers and sister to show the world that they're just another modern family. "Like anyone else, we're both normal and weird. Yes, I'm different, but I'm also silly, and my brothers are crazy, and my sister's a rock-star hippie. I'm an average girl with an average family—and I hope people can see that."