comScore Jazz Jennings, Transgender Teen Activist, Lands Reality Show | The Mary Sue

Jazz Jennings, Transgender Teen Activist, Lands Reality Show

Finally, reality TV that's actually does some GOOD!

Jazz Jennings

Jazz Jennings is only 14 years old, but she’s already a role model to me. And thanks to her upcoming reality show, All That Jazz (set to air this summer on TLC), she might become your role model, too.

Jennings is a transgender girl and has known that since she was about two years old. Thankfully, her parents were hugely supportive, and she started presenting as female when she was five. But where other kids might simply be content going about their lives, Jazz has become an activist, speaking about issues faced by trans children, meeting with people of influence like Bill Clinton, writing a children’s book (I Am Jazz, co-authored with Jessica Herthel) about her experiences as a trans child, and even making Time Magazine’s list of the 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014 along with another amazing female activist, Malala Yousafzai.

Now, All That Jazz will follow her life—and the life of her family, including her parents, Greg and Jeanette, her older sister, Ari, and her 17-year old twin brothers, Griffen and Sander—as she navigates her teen years.

It might be easy to be suspicious of a show like this, as there’s always the possibility that it can become more exploitative than helpful. After all, TLC is also the same network that brought us classy fare like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. However, one glimpse at Jazz and her parents set my heart at ease. This is an intelligent, down-to-earth family that has already done so much in the way of transgender activism. Reality TV is not going to break them, and I think that Jazz would do so well with a large platform like this, helping even more people than she already has.

Check out this interview she did with Katie Couric for Yahoo! News and tell me you don’t think she deserves a bigger stage:

So, while reality TV is always a bit suspect, I have high hopes for All That Jazz. Transgender people, and the issues they face, are finally a larger part of the national conversation, and I think it’s important to shed some of that light on trans children. Jazz will go a long way in helping trans kids figure out—and appreciate—who they are, and that’s an amazing thing.

(via The Hollywood Reporter)

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