In 2019 the reality and YouTube star, Jazz Jennings, officially underwent her gender confirmation surgery. The TV personality, who has lived most of her life identifying as female, documented her surgery on her television series.
But now, the secrets of her past have finally come to light...
Now, Jazz Jennings is well known for making waves in the fight for LGBTQ+ awareness.
via: GettyJazz, from Florida, is one of our countries most famous YouTube and television personalities who also happens to be a transgender woman.
Jazz has always remained true to herself.
via: GettyAnd has become well known for being one of the youngest publicly documented people to identify as transgender, as she was diagnosed with gender dysphoria at just 5-years-old.
She has opened up about her journey with gender identity in the past.
"When I was 2 years old, I went up to my mom and asked her, 'When is the good fairy going to come with her magic wand and change my penis into a vagina?'" The reality star told ABC News.
But, luckily for Jazz...
She has consistently had the undying love and support from her family, and has, therefore, been able to live out her life as the girl she truly is.
She began living as a girl from the age of 6...
And, in the process, became an advocate and voice for others in the LGBTQ+ community.
"From the time I was six years old, I've been sharing my story. And you know at first I thought, 'Okay, this is all going to come to an end one day and then I'll be able to live my life.' But more and more I realized that I was given this platform for a reason and that I have a strong and powerful voice," Jazz said.
And, since rising to fame in the last decade...
Jazz has used her platform to become a voice for others in the LGBTQ+ community, and regularly advocates and campaigns for issues that trans people like herself face every day.
And, in 2017, she made a momentous announcement.
via: GettyAt the age of sixteen, Jazz revealed to the world that she would be officially undergoing gender confirmation surgery. For those of you who aren't familiar... Gender confirmation surgery helps a person to achieve the genitalia that better matches the gender with which they identify.
This was the final stepping stone in Jazz's gender transition.
via: Getty"This is really the last thing that will validate my identity as a woman. There is nothing else after this. I just get to be myself, be in the body that I've always wanted. And then I can live my life as just Jazz," she said.
She revealed on her YouTube channel that she would be getting "transfeminine bottom surgery."
via: GettyThis particular surgery transforms existing male genitalia by reconstructing it into female genitalia, the ASPS says. So, as you can imagine, the procedure would be a long and grueling one.
Yet, despite the risks and the long road to recovery that laid ahead...
via: GettyJazz officially underwent her surgery in 2018 and, remarkably, decided to document her journey on the fifth season of her award-winning TLC show, I Am Jazz.
Jazz shared her gender confirmation journey with the world.
And she has been incredibly open with the aftermath...
via: InstagramJazz proudly shared photos of her in a swimsuit, where her surgery scars can be visibly seen on her upper thighs. Captioning her post, which was reflecting on her journey throughout the past year, Jazz wrote, "These are my scars on full display in #2019. I'm proud of my scars and love my body just the way it is. I call them my battle wounds because they signify the strength and perseverance it took to finally complete my transition."
She looks incredible.
via: InstagramAnd social media users were quick to praise the star, with many labeling her as an "inspiration." One user wrote, "You are a model of courage, strength, perseverance and most of all, LOVE", while another commented, "So strong! So beautiful! #goddess."
The surgery proved to be more complex than anticipated...
And, despite an initially successful operation...
Everything seemed fine in the first couple of days following her procedure...
She had to spend a further 10 days in the hospital...
But fast forward ...
However, despite her openness with her transition...
The reality star has always remained subtle online...
But now, the truth about Jennings has come out.
For one thing, Jazz has been in the public eye for far longer than anyone knew.
She actually made her first appearance on Barbara Walters aged just six years old.
And there's a reason Jennings was put into the limelight so early.
And it wasn't in the pursuit of fame.
Her parents actually just wanted to encourage the world to see Jazz as female.
Including convincing her school to allow her to attend as a girl.
But her parents were reluctant to allow Jazz to be on camera.
"It took them 10 months of wooing us to even convince us to do it. We were not ready to share something so personal," Jeannette Jennings explained.
But she eventually decided it was important for Jazz to go public.
"You know, you really have to see Jazz to get the whole situation. To see her in her environment, with her friends and family — to know and see that she truly is a girl."
And over time, the family adapted to life in the public eye.
"I love having people in my house, I love having company. For other people it'd be disruptive, but I really enjoyed the crew. It was a lot of work at times — many hours where we were filming and we were exhausted. But it's all worth it in the end, now that we see the finished product."
"Like my mom said, the crew was just absolutely incredible. It was definitely difficult to adjust to at first. But we got used to it pretty quickly. And you know, when you always have this camera following you around — it's so different, it keeps you on your toes."
But there is one surprise thing the family have kept private.
Their real last name!
"Jennings is our pseudonym, to sort of make life easier. We try to hide our real last name as much as possible," Jeanette explained.
"Our last name is a very Jewish, long last name."
"We found it easier at this point. She's known as Jazz Jennings. With the TV show, they're not going to tell anybody where we live. The TV show is not going to reference our true last name."
Jeanette shared another BTS secret, too.
"Any time there's a scene that's happening over a meal, you're not supposed to actually eat."
"The sound of the chewing gets picked up by all the microphones and ruins any conversations that are happening."
"We learned fast that whenever we needed to film a lunch or dinner scene, we'd need to really eat beforehand."
Jazz also shared another struggle she faced before her surgery.
She had to lose thirty pounds in order for the doctors to allow it.
"If we're going to get a hospital to say, 'we're going to allow a surgery at age 17,' you're going to have to be at a lower BMI."
"Literally, they won't approve it if your BMI is one dot cover."
Jazz got to choose her own name - but it wasn't always her first choice.
"When I was three-years-old, I came up with the name Sparkles for myself. I thought it was going to be a cool name, you know, being Sparkles, this little glitter fairy child. I don't know. Maybe I'll keep it as a middle name."
And her mom only recently started calling her Jazz.
"She has always been Jaren to me."
Jazz has maintained a good relationship with her parents throughout.
"I'm honestly the luckiest kid in the world."
"I embraced who I am entirely, and I attribute that to her and my dad and my entire family giving me the love and support that I need at that early age and allowing me to live my life as my authentic self."
"Without her, I wouldn't be able to be the proud, confident transgender woman that I am today."
Another little known fact about Jazz?
The very first transgender doll was modelled after her!
"Jazz stands for everything I respect from a human nature point of view," said Tonner Doll Company founder Robert Tonner.
"She's incredibly brave, intelligent, warm-hearted and creative."
Jazz has spoken out about the importance of her TV show.
"We are an ordinary American family. We used the platform of the reality show to bring the public into our home to show that, although I'm transgender, our family is very typical... I'm proud of the show. I think it opened hearts and minds and helped people who were struggling."
And that's not all.
The show is literally saving lives.
"People have said that because of my show, and because of me putting myself out there and my family sharing our story, that we've been able to have a huge impact in their lives."
"In some cases, they say that we actually saved their lives."
Jazz has big plans for the future.
"I think in the future I might want to go into the directing or movie-making business because I love coming up with stories. I love coming up with these cool ideas and worlds in my mind, and I want to share them with people."
She also wants to continue with her activism.
"Laws are very important, but I think the main thing is society. Even if there is a law, people can still be discriminatory and that's not okay. I wish everyone could be accepting. Not tolerant, because tolerant isn't good enough; tolerant means you're putting up with it. People should be accepting of each other no matter their difference."
She's also breaking into the world of publishing.
Having already written 2 books, Being Jazz and I Am Jazz.
"This book is geared more towards transgender teenagers who are struggling."
"I think being a teenager is a difficult journey in and of itself, but being transgender makes it that much harder. I'm there to help them realize you just have to love who you are no matter what and just stay authentic."
Right now, she's feeling positive about the future.
"It's not about me or my 'legacy,' but rather the message and how it will live on."
"I want to know that in sharing my story, my family has been able to greatly impact the lives of transgender individuals who were struggling to embrace their identities."
"We just want the world to be a better place for our community."
We couldn't agree more!
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