Jazz Jennings will soon be taking her story to TLC in a groundbreaking reality show that gives a spotlight to the transgender teen.
The cable network has announced plans for a show called All That Jazz, which focuses on the 14-year-old YouTube star and transgender activist. The show will run for 11 episodes, showing Jazz as she deals with the normal ups and downs of being a teenager with one important twist — Jazz was assigned male at birth, but since her fifth birthday has lived as a girl.
Jazz Jennings already has quite a following. She has a strong presence on YouTube, with close to 30,000 subscribers and close to 2 million total views. Jazz has also co-authored and illustrated a memoir called I Am Jazz, which describes the girl’s early difficulties at school and struggles to fit in.
“I wanted to write this book so I could help other kids who are really struggling to find out who they are,” Jennings said after the book was published. “It’s not geared towards just LGBTQ kids, but kids of any difference of any type.”
Jazz was named one of Time magazine’s “25 Most Influential Teens of 2014,” and in an interview with Katie Couric, the teen said she hopes her story can shed light on the difficulties of living as a transgender youth.
“I know so many families that are not accepting,” she said. “They’ll write to me and they’ll say, ‘I just can’t do this, I can’t give up the idea of my son or daughter.’ And it’s really heartbreaking, and I try to tell them that this is a life and death situation; the suicide rates [among transgender youth] are astronomical here.”
For TLC, the show featuring Jazz Jennings was a chance to tell the story of a normal, if somewhat unconventional, family.
“We know that families come in all shapes and sizes, but at their core, they are all about love, acceptance and support. Only TLC can tell this family’s story in a way that celebrates and demystifies difference in an effort to help create a world without prejudice,” said Marjorie Kaplan, group president of TLC and Animal Planet.
The TLC show featuring Jazz Jennings will hit the air just months after the first-ever reality show featuring a transgender person. In April, Discovery Life is debuting New Girls on the Block, a show that highlights different transgender women who are at various phases of their transition.
[Image via The Mary Sue]