Being Jazz by Jazz Jennings

Being Jazz by Jazz JenningsBeing Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings
Narrator: Jazz Jennings
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on June 7, 2016
Genres: Biography & Memoir, LGBT, Young Adult
Length: 4 hours, 3 minutes
Source: I listened to this audiobook via my TuneIn Premium subscription.
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five-stars

Teen activist and trailblazer Jazz Jennings shares her very public transgender journey, as she inspires people to accept the differences in others while they embrace their own truths. 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.

 

Teenage transgender activist Jazz Jennings delivers a powerful, clear, love-filled message in the audiobook version of her memoir, Being Jazz.

Jazz’s parents shielded her from as much as they could when she was young. They fought behind the scenes for a long time so she could live her life as normally as possible. I really felt for her mother: Her mom was the one facing the most social backlash, being accused of “wanting” a little girl, “encouraging” or “pushing” Jazz’s identity, etc. It’s unfair either way, but goodness, that is a whole new level of mom-shaming.

Jazz speaks frankly about the everyday things that come up with being a transgender kid: How to navigate slumber party invitations? How unashamed and self-confident can you be without compromising your safety? Which bathroom to use at school? (If you think trans people should be relegated to a separate, gender-neutral bathroom, this one chapter will change the mind of anyone with a heart.)

Then there’s the sexism and discrimination in sports. Honestly, I didn’t expect it to be so strong at the elementary school level! Sigh. Jazz’s experience fighting to be allowed to play soccer is what sparked her interest in advocacy, though. She saw firsthand how individuals can stand up for what’s right and actually change things.

Jazz recognizes her privilege of having extremely supportive parents and access to high-quality, trans-friendly healthcare, but you can tell she deeply cares about helping other trans kids. With the friendly, down-to-earth tone of a typical teenager, Being Jazz is obviously a must-read for trans kids/teens and their parents, but I think Jazz’s message is one that everyone needs to hear.

five-stars
  • Aw, this sounds so good! I’ve actually seen her TV show a bit when I’m flipping through and it seems really good, too.

    • I want to see her show! I’ll have to see if any of the seasons are available on Hulu or somewhere. 🙂

  • Melanie Page

    My library showcased the children’s book, and I was so pleased! In her story, does she talk about how everyone knows she’s transgender? I guess my school was big enough that a transgender person could disappear in the mix.

    • Not really, because for a good while not everyone knew…and even now, there seem to be plenty of situations where she meets new people who don’t know her. (Being trans is more of a continual coming out.)