LGBTQ+ Pride Month

Jazz Jennings Is Bringing Up A Topic For Transgender People Usually Deemed Too Taboo

"I want to talk about it so people will know they can stop asking."

At just 16 years old, Jazz Jennings has already become an icon and role model for transgender people of all ages — and she is not afraid to speak up. On the third season of her reality series, I Am Jazz, Jennings brings up something often deemed too taboo to speak openly about in everyday society, let alone on television.

In an clip of the show obtained by Us Weekly, the TLC star's mom, Jeanette, tells the teen's grandparents that Jennings wants to have gender confirmation surgery before completing high school. Jennings' family is standing behind her 100 percent and supports the decision she has made — but the real controversy here is the conversation being brought up at all.

Many in the transgender community deem "Transfeminine Bottom Surgery" — in Jennings' case — and "Transmasculine Bottom Surgery" to be off limits in terms of being discussed. The former is the surgery which sees the male genitalia reconstructed into female genitalia, and the latter results in the female genitalia being transformed into male genitalia. 

"I know a lot of trans people don't like to talk about [bottom surgery] and everyone says what is in between your legs doesn't matter, and I agree, but I also think it's important to talk about it," Jennings told the magazine. "Someone needs to step forward so they can see. It's rude to just ask people if they have had their bottom surgery, but I want to talk about it so people will know they can stop asking."

ATTN.com points out that some leaders of the transgender community — such as Orange Is The New Black star Laverne Cox  — have spoken out about why discussing a transgender person's surgical history or aspirations is too invasive and overall inappropriate. The argument is that surgery objectifies this group of people and is too taboo to ask about — especially given the fact that not everyone who identifies as transgender opts to go forward with the procedure.

As Jennings points out, the difference in her situation is that she has decided to make this very personal detail from her life known because she's comfortable to do so, and wants to make a difference. The YouTube personality has always been an open book, willing to discuss things other transgender folks might be facing and wanting to talk about, too. 

"Basically there's a new wave of trans youth that are coming and that means there has to be groundbreaking surgeries for people who have taken blockers and don't have a lot of growth," Jennings continued. "That's been the major problem with my surgery. Since I've been on blockers for so long, I don't have a lot of growth and you'll see this season if it can still work."

By being open and brave about her situation, Jennings is stripping power away from the topic and helping to normalize what can be a very important experience for some in the transgender community. Hopefully, this will help others know that it's something they can discuss openly with those they trust, if they so choose.

Cover image via lev radin / Shutterstock.com

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