A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the reality series I Am Jazz features a transgender teen sharing her experiences as she prepares to enter high school. There's lots of teen talk about boys, breast size, virginity, and the like, but much of the discussion also centers on coping with these issues as a transgender person. Bullying and discrimination are discussed; words such as "piss" and "crap" and slurs such as "tranny freak" are audible. Though the show highlights the challenging realities of growing up a transgender person, acceptance also is a major theme. The series promotes Jazz's children's book as well as media campaigns designed to support transgender youth.
What's the story?
I AM JAZZ is a reality series starring 14-year-old author and YouTube celebrity Jazz Jennings as she prepares to enter high school. Born biologically a boy, Jazz began her transition when she was five years old and has lived a happy life as a girl. But now that she's getting older, she must deal with the challenges that come with puberty, including adjusting hormone treatment levels to prevent male development, becoming comfortable with meeting new people, and dating. Meanwhile, she must continue to cope with institutional ignorance and ongoing bullying. Luckily her parents, Greg and Jeannette, as well as her older sister Ari and twin brothers Griffen and Sander are there to support her every step of the way.
Is it any good?
The overall series is largely uplifting, thanks to Jazz's honesty about who she is, and her efforts to be a role model to other transgender kids. I Am Jazz weaves together conversations about clothes, makeup, and boys with a positive and uniquely personal story about a teen who's constantly negotiating her willingness to openly be herself and facing fears of being rejected or bullied because she's transgender. It also underscores the serious medical decisions she must constantly make to ultimately have the life she wants.
The picture painted here isn't an easy one, especially when Jazz and her parents describe the endless struggles they've had to face over the years and some of the concerns they have for the future. Bullying incidents captured on camera aren't easy to watch either.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about being transgender. What kind of challenges do transgender people face on a daily basis? How can TV shows like I Am Jazz help?
Jazz's family is both supportive and financially stable. How do you think her life might be different if one of these factors changed?
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