“Saying that someone is who they are biologically doesn’t make sense at all.”
YouTuber and celebrity trans advocate Jazz Jennings opened up about complications from her recent gender reassignment surgery ― while assuring parents of transgender kids that it was “a very rare complication” in what she said were “life-saving operations.”
Jennings, 18, is the star of TLC’s “I Am Jazz,” which follows her life as a transgender female teen, as well as key stages of her surgical transition (for which she had to lose 30 pounds).
“I finally have my dream body,” she told Advocate in a video interview published Tuesday.
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But the surgery did not go smoothly.
“Everything kinda went down hill” about a week after the operation, Jennings said.
As she was getting ready to go back home and have her “catheter removed,” she discovered she was experiencing “wound separation,” she said.
Jennings recounted that staying focused on her goal — transforming her body to correspond with her gender identity — kept her eyes on the prize.
“What I had to do in that moment was adopt the mindset of my future self. I knew that as gloomy as things seemed in that present moment that in the future things will get better, and that I will be fully healed one day, doing cartwheels and splits and everything I was doing before,” she said.
As an advocate for the popularization and acceptance of the transgender community, Jennings said she had concerns about letting her surgery drama play out in full on TV.
“I worry that [seeing the episode] would make kids and families fearful, and of course we don’t want to incite any fears,” she said.
“But it’s just the truth of what happened to me,” she continued. “I did end up experiencing this really fluky thing. It’s a very rare complication, but I hope people can learn that no matter how hard it may feel in that moment that if you stay strong you can get through it.”
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At the end of the day, she decided, her “journey is important for America.”
“I think by sharing my surgery experience, people can really see that I’m just a normal girl living my life wanting to go through with this because this is my choice,” she said.”We are humanizing the transgender experience. I am just a girl that happens to be transgender.”
Jennings decried the unavailability of gender-reassignment procedure to most Americans. For her, the operation was covered by her insurance.
“However, for so many other transgender people out there, it’s not,” she said. “And it should be, because these are life-saving operations.”
But critics of transgenderism — an odd coalition of traditionalists and radical feminists — have insisted that the problem is not a lack of available medical options and social acceptance, but the opposite.
Some in the United Kingdom, where sex changes are covered by the country’s universal healthcare system, have expressed concern that the increasing ease of transitioning, along with celebrity endorsements, is making it seem like a simple choice for many identity-addled teens.
These concerns are now growing in the United States, too, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has vowed to make the LGBTQ Equality Act a top priority for Democrats.
To skeptics, Jennings said: “I would ask them to realize that there are no limitations to who people can be.”
“Saying that someone is who they are biologically doesn’t make sense at all because we all exist as energy and as consciousness and that consciousness is so unlimited and expansive,” she said. “I think trying to limit it into these categories of sex and gender doesn’t make sense whatsoever.”