The newest TLC unscripted series features a spunky teenager and her family. But, who is I Am Jazz about? You've probably seen or heard of Jazz before. Jazz Jennings is a transgender teenage girl who is a successful YouTuber, activist, athlete, writer, and spokesperson. She's basically more famous and successful than you or I will ever hope to be, especially for an incoming high school freshman.
You may remember her family's story from the 2011 documentary I Am Jazz — A Family In Transition that aired on the OWN network. Since then, Jennings has become a major player in the trans community, especially for young kids. She has been interviewed on television and by Amy Poehler's Smart Girls At The Party. Her family fought for her legal right to play girl's soccer when she was in elementary and middle school, and scored a huge win for transgender youth everywhere when the United States Soccer Federation defined their laws in favor of trans athletes. Jazz Jennings has even co-authored a children's book, also titled I Am Jazz, that is semi-autobiographical.
She's also a casual entrepreneur who makes silicone mermaid tails that are available for purchase. Slight warning, because with all of these accomplishments it's easy to forget that she is a teenage girl, her website plays music when you navigate to it. Naturally!
As if all of this wasn't enough, in addition, Jazz Jennings is currently the face of Clean & Clear beauty products. Here is one of her commercials for their "See The Real Me" campaign.
And, here's Jazz telling her story, in her own words, from her YouTube channel.
Finally, here's a great video she made for Cosmopolitan detailing 10 Things To Know About Transgender People. It's definitely geared towards younger people, and it's a great beginner's etiquette guide.
The TLC series will cover Jazz's matriculation to high school, with all the new territory and challenges that entails, on top of medical and social hurdles that present themselves to her along the way. The show will also follow Jazz's parents and three siblings. It has all the makings of a fun reality program from a teenage lens covering a really important topic.
As someone who was exposed to films when I was in high school (over a decade ago) like Boys Don't Cry and Ma Vie En Rose, which both feature transgender protagonists, it's awesome that these stories are continuing to become more commonplace for other teens. My education on the subject was rare, but that isn't so much the case today. I Am Jazz paints such an optimistic picture of what transgender teen life could and should be like for kids like Jazz, and it's important viewing for everyone.