This summer, TLC broadcasted a very unique reality show called “I Am Jazz” that let viewers in to something that’s been climbing to the surface for a long time – Gender Dysphoria or Gender Identity Disorder (GID).
Gender Dysphoria is when someone relates emotionally and psychologically to the opposite gender of their biological sex. TLC’s hit summer series follows 14-year old transgender activist Jazz Jennings and her warm, loving family as they go about their daily lives.
This unique preview lets the viewers get to know Jennings and experience some of her toughest struggles as she transitions from middle school to high school. We get to learn her hobbies, her friends, her wacky siblings and, most of all, her loving parents. Whilst helping us further understand just what GID is and what measures are taken so that Jennings can live her life fully and happily as a normal teenage girl.
To say this show deserves 5 stars is an understatement. All the Jennings family seem to have an amazing personality that keeps us wanting to continue further along their life-changing journey. We are given such an intimate portrait of their life, without the details that would endanger their safety, they make it so the viewers feel like very close friends with them. Not only that but Jazz Jennings herself makes you want to keep watching because she’s so bubbly and positive. She has a natural confidence about her. When something happens to her, you feel it with her and she’s very open and informative on a lot of topics. You learn so much from her alone.
On top of all this, Jennings’ mother, Jeanette, shows us just what it means to adore your children, she really gives us a clear view of what it means to protect them and she lets us understand just how close their family really is. This allows us to identify with the characters on an even more personal level.
The filming is well-done also. Never once did there seem to be awkward shots and everyone seems to receive almost equal screen time, allowing a clear portrait of each character. Another thing that’s well done is the way the story is told to us. There doesn’t seem to be an uninteresting part, in fact, a bathroom break in the middle will make you miss something crucial. Seeing as Jennings is so open, we see the positives and the negatives to her situation, nothing is one-sided.
In the earliest episodes, a boy is caught on camera calling her an awful name. Later on, some of the struggles she deals with, which are normally minimal, are increased because she is transgender. We see struggles with body image, which relate to not developing as nicely as her other girl friends. Problems with school activities, like not being able to play on the girls soccer team without a fight. We even see issues with friends and relationships, an example being boys being hesitant to hang out with her and her friends because she’s different.
“I Am Jazz” being aired is a step on the path leading to acceptance, a feat our country is slowly starting to move toward. TLC has not said anything as of yet about a second season but hopefully there will be one because it was truly a wonderful experience, I recommend it.
For those still interested in continuing to follow this teen role model, you can check out her video blog on TLC.com.