Jazz Jennings has spent the better part of her entire life in the public eye.
The 16-year-old, who has become the face of the young trans community across the country, had her very first interview when she was just six, and the spotlight has only gotten brighter with each passing year. Now, with season 3 of her own docuseries airing on TLC every week, Jazz, and her transition, are under near constant scrutiny.
It’s enough to make any teenager’s head spin, even one who isn’t dealing with half of what Jazz is. That’s where her family comes in.
Jazz boasts one of the most supportive families around, a group that has supported each and every one of her decisions since she announced that she was a girl at just two years old. The entire group is also featured on the TLC series I Am Jazz. Here’s what you need to know about the Jennings:
1. Jennings’ Family Has Been Incredibly Supportive of Her Transition
Since her very first interview with Barbara Walters when she was just six, Jazz has been in the public eye and her transition has been the center of both negative and positive conversations. Throughout it all, the now 16-year-old’s family has been nothing but incredibly and consistently supportive, standing beside her and advocating for the trans community.
Jazz’s parents, Greg & Jeanette, have led that supportive charge, and have even helped their daughter stave off puberty with hormone treatment. Doctors have prescribed Jazz blockers that will prevent body hair from growing and halt the development of other masculine features. She’ll also undergo estrogen therapy to help develop female-like characteristics. Greg explained the decision to ABC News, saying he and Jeanette were “in 100 percent agreement as to how we should raise Jazz.”
2. She & Her Parents Co-Founded a Charity in 2007
Jazz and her parents founded the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation in 2007, just a few years after the family’s first public appearance and shortly after stories started to emerge about their lives. The organization has evolved over the last eight years, focusing now on helping trans children and teenagers with their transition as well as helping to educate others on the lives and decisions of trans kids.
The Foundation’s mission statement states:
TKPRF is committed to enhancing the future lives of TransKids by educating schools, peers, places of worship, the medical community, government bodies, and society in general, in an effort to seek fair and equal treatment and of all transyouth.
In 2013, Jazz expanded the Foundation on her own, adding the Purple Rainbow Tails, which sells her self-designed rubber mermaid tails to raise money for transgender children.
3. Jazz’s Older Sister is a Student at the University of Florida
Jazz’s older sister Ari, 21, is set to enter her senior year at the University of Florida. She was a big-time influence on Jazz while the two were growing up and her younger sister even credits Ari with helping her choose her name. Jazz picked the moniker after seeing Ari play the role of Princess Jasmine in a stage version of the Disney show Aladdin.
Ari is a self-proclaimed performer and has posted a handful of photos on her Instagram account of her performing. Unfortunately, she adds that she hasn’t had the opportunity to sing much since heading to college.
4. Jazz Has Two Very Protective Twin Brothers
Jazz also has two older brothers, 19-year-old twins Griffen and Sander. Griffen is a minute older and certainly makes sure to remind the family of this fact regularly. Although it was surprising to see their once younger brother declare that she was a girl, both of the twins quickly adapted to Jazz’s decision and support her without question. Griffen explained:
Being so young we didn’t understand what transgender was. As we got older, it’s just beocme natural that Jazz was our sister. Just, through time, it became so natural that I don’t even think about the fact that she’s transgender. I just think of her as my sister. That’s it. That’s who she is.
The twins are set to enter their final year of high school this fall.
5. Jennings Is Not the Family’s Real Last Name
The Jennings family has always wanted to share Jazz’s story and since that first interview, Jazz has become the de fact face of the young trans community. However, when it comes to sharing, there are some things the Jennings don’t want public; like their actual last name.
Jennings is actually a chosen surname for the family, who also has not divulged where they live, only alluding to a home in South Florida. When the family first decided to go public they didn’t even use their current first names either. Greg and Jeanette were quoted in an early ABC News story as Renee and Scott.