A 14-year-old transgender girl recently opened up about her struggles with dating, revealing that boys don’t give her attention — some, she said, even call her “it.”
Jazz Jennings, born a boy, was diagnosed at the age of 3 with gender identity disorder, but said that she knew from an even earlier age that she was always meant to be a girl. As a toddler, Jennings would wear girl’s clothes and play with dolls, and even asked her mother when a magic fairy would come and “take away” her penis. Her parents, realizing that what was happening may not just be a phase, took her to a pediatrician.
“The doctor showed me male and female dolls and asked me to point to which one I was. Straight away, I pointed to the female doll,” Jennings said. The doctor instructed her parents to “follow her lead” but not encourage her. Over time, Jennings was more and more adamant that she was a girl. She was finally diagnosed after a number of tests and counseling sessions, and soon began a gradual transition.
“I grew my hair, had my ears pierced and wore dresses. I felt so happy,” she said. “My brothers and sisters accepted it and even though my dad struggled at first, both my parents were really supportive.”
While her family supported her transition, Jennings said fellow students at school were not as understanding.
“Some children asked why I was dressed like a girl when I was born a boy. I’d say I felt as though I’d been born in the wrong body,” she said. “But at lunchtime some of the girls wouldn’t sit with me and some of the boys even called me ‘it.’ When I got home I’d cry. I wasn’t allowed to use the boys’ or girls’ toilets, I had to go to the nurse’s office to use the bathroom. I felt so isolated.”
The 14-year-old, Florida-based student admitted that she’s tried dating at school, but said none of the boys she approaches want to talk to her.
“I like some boys in my class at school but no one likes me back. It upsets me, I worry it’s because I’m not pretty. But my friends tell me I’m attractive,” Jennings said.
Despite feeling unappreciated by boys at her school, Jennings said she gets messages from straight and transgender boys all of the time — boys from across the world. The teen founded Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation and recently wrote a book about her journey called "I Am Jazz." She is now an outspoken advocate for transgender rights and has spoken at schools, hospitals and universities throughout the country.
“I want to show people they don’t have to be scared of being different,” she said. “I hope to stop discrimination against young transgender people.”
The young teen said she’s planning full gender reassignment surgery after she turns 18, and is confident the surgery will help her fully feel like the woman she’s always been.
“The hardest part of being transgender is still having male genitalia. It reminds me I wasn’t born in a female body,” Jennings said. “I used to struggle with my self-esteem. But now I’m happy with who I am.”