Jazz Jennings is one of the youngest and most prominent voices in the national discussion about gender identity. At the age of five, Jazz transitioned to life as a girl, with the support of her parents. A year later, her parents allowed her to share her incredible journey in her first Barbara Walters interview, aired at a time when the public was much less knowledgeable or accepting of the transgender community. This groundbreaking interview was followed over the years by other high-profile interviews, a documentary, the launch of her YouTube channel, a picture book, and her own reality TV series—I Am Jazz—making her one of the most recognizable activists for transgender teens, children, and adults.
In her remarkable memoir, Jazz reflects on these very public experiences and how they have helped shape the mainstream attitude toward the transgender community. But it hasn’t all been easy. Jazz has faced many challenges, bullying, discrimination, and rejection, yet she perseveres as she educates others about her life as a transgender teen. Through it all, her family has been beside her on this journey, standing together against those who don’t understand the true meaning of tolerance and unconditional love. Now Jazz must learn to navigate the physical, social, and emotional upheavals of adolescence—particularly high school—complicated by the unique challenges of being a transgender teen. Making the journey from girl to woman is never easy—especially when you began your life in a boy’s body.
In honor of her upcoming book release, Jazz Jennings has been named Penguin Random House’s Author Ambassador for Read Proud Listen Proud. Read Proud Listen Proud was introduced in June 2015 as an online resource for kids and teens, as well as their parents, teachers and librarians, to find LGBTQ literature that encourages understanding and acceptance, celebrating everyone for who they are through the power of storytelling. You can check out the newly revamped site here and check out Jazz herself in the video below.
Being Jazz doesn’t come out until June 7, 2016, until then here are some other great books to check out:
Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephardt
Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki
She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan