My biggest complaint about Being Jazz is that Jazz Jennings is such a typical teenage girl who writes like I imagine most 15 years old girls do- lots of exclamation points, humble bragging and boy craziness- which was at times a little grating. But this complaint is its biggest strength because Jazz Jennings isn’t a typical teenage girl- Jazz Jennings was born Jayron and began her transition from biologically male to presenting as female before she entered Kindergarten.
Jazz has been lucky in her upbringing; her parents quickly came around to the understanding that their son Jayron was actually a daughter in the wrong body and in pre-school began letting her present to the world as a girl. Lucky for Jazz her parents had the financial resources, as well as emotional understanding, to get her the proper medical care at a young age. As a family they have had the courage to fight numerous injustices, including her elementary school not letting her use the girl’s restroom (so she would pee her pants to avoid the long, embarrassing walk to the nurse’s office) and barring Jazz from playing on a girls’ soccer team. The Jenning’s goal has always been for their daughter to have a normal life and, in between stories of overcoming challenges, it is clear that Jazz is just a normal fifteen year old with a bit of a mermaid obsession.
Jazz and her parents have been advocates for transgender rights for the last decade and this book is a great step in educating young people & their parents on trans issues and what it is like growing up with a body that doesn’t fit with what your brain feels.