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Who is Jazz Jennings, star of TLC series I Am Jazz?

Jazz talking to her friend over lunch on I Am Jazz
Jazz Jennings in footage from Season 3 of I Am Jazz on TLC

TLC’s hit series I Am Jazz returns to our screens for Season 3 tonight — but who is the show’s star Jazz Jennings?

For those new to the series, Jazz is a transgender teenage girl and this season is at a huge turning point in her life, where she has to decide whether to move forward with gender reassignment surgery.

Jazz was born male but at just four years old became one of the youngest people ever to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, where a person struggles to identify with their biological sex.

In Jazz’s case, she identified with being a girl and her parents Greg and Jeanette were quick to embrace her new gender identity, doing so by the time she turned five.

She came into the spotlight a year later when at the age of six in 2007 she talked about her gender identity in an interview with Barbara Walters on ABC’s 20/20.

She then went on to do a string of follow-up interviews which led to her ultimately launching the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation with her parents, which aims to help transgender youth.

She later also launched the company Purple Rainbow Tails, which makes

In 2011 she appeared in a documentary on the Oprah Winfrey Network called I Am Jazz: A Family in Transition. She also began publishing YouTube videos about her life, educating people about transgender issues as in the video below.

She also co-authored a children’s picture book based on her experiences called I Am Jazz, which was released in 2014.

That same year she was named one of The 25 Most Influential Teens by Time magazine, an accolade which she also received the following year.

Her TLC show first aired in July 2015, following her and her family as they go about their day-to-day lives. Jennings is not the family’s real surname, so as to protect their identity.

The first season ran for 11 episodes and a second season, comprising of eight episodes, aired in 2016. Season 3 will also run for eight episodes, with Jazz now aged 16.

In the premiere, which sets the scene for the season ahead, she tells her parents that she wants to have gender confirmation surgery before she ends high school.

But new information comes to light that reveals her options for surgery are more limited than the family thought.

In the season she also has to deal with a world where discrimination, hate speech, online bullying, and a lack of understanding about transgender people is rife.

But there’s also good times too…

Jazz Jennings on a float in I Am Jazz on TLC
Jazz taking part in a parade in Season 3 of I Am Jazz on TLC

As well as appearing on the show, Jazz works tirelessly as an advocate for transgender people. Her memoir, Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen was released in June 2016.

In August that year she was also named among the influential members of Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 list.

She has an older sister called Ari and two older twin brothers, Sander and Griffin.

Watch the trailer for I Am Jazz Season 3 below:

I Am Jazz Season 3 premieres tonight at 10/9c on TLC and then Episode 2 airs tomorrow, Wednesday, at 9/8c. Follow-up episodes will air Wednesdays at 9/8c on TLC. 

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