In the latest episode of I Am Jazz, 17-year-old transgender Jazz Jennings opened up about the challenges of gender reassignment surgery. The reality star shared that she has always wanted to complete the surgery all her life. Unfortunately for her, she may not be able to do it at this time because of her weight.
According to People, Tuesday night’s episode followed Jazz as she went to see her doctor with her parents. The teenager was met with bad news as the doctor told her that she needs to lose at least 30 pounds before she’s allowed to complete her gender reassignment surgery.
“Your surgery will be very difficult in terms of what even the most experienced surgeons have encountered,” Jazz’s surgeon, Dr. Marci Bowers carefully explained.
“Not to bring up the bad news first, but you gained in your [body mass index]…If we’re going to get a hospital to say, ‘we’re going to allow a surgery at age 17,’ you’re going to have to be at a lower BMI. Literally, they won’t approve it if your BMI is one dot over. When it translates to pounds, it’s about 30 pounds.”
Jazz was completely heartbroken. While she’s mentally and emotionally prepared to undergo bottom surgery, her body is saying otherwise.
“I’m absolutely horrified,” Jazz exclaimed in a confessional upon learning that her recent weight gain is a far more serious problem.
“I knew that my weight was a problem, but I didn’t realize that it could affect something that I’ve been waiting for my entire life.”
The surgeon explained that if the patient is heavier than normal, it makes the operation more difficult. And being only 17 years old, Jazz Jennings’ case is already more complicated.
“What we’re finding is that as one new technology emerges, like hormone blockade–nobody thought we could block puberty–it creates another problem elsewhere. Now we don’t have enough tissue to create the adult genitals of the opposite sex,” Dr. Bowers detailed.
Jazz Jennings has previously opened up about her ongoing battle with weight issues. In the I Am Jazz Season 4 teaser, she commented on her problem with over-eating and said that she feels like a “beached whale.”
“My eating habits are beyond my control. I really feel like a beached whale.”
In a new tweet, the trans reality star admitted that like any other teenager, she faces physical insecurities. However, she remains positive and added that she’s learning to love herself “undeniably.”
Meanwhile, last night’s episode also featured Jazz Jenning helping out with the relief operations for Hurricane Irma victims. Following the calamity, she and her family drove to the Florida Keys where they helped clean homes in the devastated community.
The Jennings also live in Florida and their home was reportedly also in the path of the hurricane last September. Thankfully, they survived the storm all safe and dry.
Aside from her reality show, Jazz Jennings is also an avid LGBTQ activist. She’s currently working on an independent film entitled Denim, which tackles how “bathroom bans” affect transgender youth.
This season’s I Am Jazz will follow the trans teen as she deals with normal adolescent issues, such as getting a tattoo, dating a girl, and dieting. I Am Jazz Season 4 airs every Tuesday, 10 p.m. on TLC.