The fifth season of I Am Jazz premieres tonight on TLC, promising to focus largely on Jazz Jennings’ gender confirmation surgery. Jennings, 14, has been living as a girl since Kindergarten making her one of the youngest publicly documented people to be identified as gender dysphoric. While her family accepted her from a young age, the series has since covered Jazz’s early teenage years and as the network writes, “they’re in for a whole new set of challenges.”
Jennings, who is also a YouTube personality and author, has two twin brothers, Sander and Griffen. Here’s everything you need to know about the Jennings brothers.
1. Sander and Griffen are the Second and Third Children of Jeanette and Greg Jennings
Sander and Griffen are 20 years old and were first featured in the 2011 documentary I Am Jazz: A Family in Transition that paved the way for the family’s reality show. The twin brothers are incredibly protective of their sister, Jazz. The two frequently use social media as a platform to help educate people on trans topics.
Although it was surprising to witness their sister’s transition, both of the twins quickly accepted Jazz and supported her without question. Griffen explained: “Being so young we didn’t understand what transgender was. As we got older, it’s just become 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.”
Even when the twins aren’t filming for their family’s show, I Am Jazz, they still spend tons of quality time with their siblings. They go to football games, TV show premieres and even hit a water park from time to time.
2. The Twin Brothers Have a Fourth Sibling, Older Sister Ari
Ari is the oldest of the Jennings kids and is one of Jazz’s biggest support systems. Before Ari went on to the University of Florida, she was the salutatorian of her high school. She’s a self-proclaimed performer and has posted about her past roles on her Instagram page. Jazz picked her name after seeing her big sis play Princess Jasmine in a stage version of Disney’s Aladdin.
Since the show started airing, the 23-years-old graduated from college where she used to attend events on campus, including football games and events at her sorority, Alpha Epsilon Phi.
One of her greatest passions is singing and the eldest Jennings child can frequently be seen posting photos of her performing onstage on Instagram. On one photo, she captioned, “Words can’t even describe how much I miss performing on stage. Closing my eyes and singing to the world was my escape.”
She hopes to work in the music industry professionally in the future.
3. Sander is a Pre-Law Student at the University of Florida
Sander attends the same school his older sister went to. He’s studying law and is part of the university’s class of 2020.
He’s a typical college student, tweeting about football, frat parties, movies, and other sports. He also tweets a lot of support for the trans community and his sister, in addition to promoting the family’s show and the #WontBeErased hashtag.
According to Griffen’s Twitter page, he’s also a member of the University of Florida’s class of 2020, and his interests are very similar to his brother’s.
4. Jennings is Not the Twins’ Real Last Name
Once it was decided that the Jennings family would share Jazz’s story with the public, parents Jeanette and Greg decided to protect their daughter Jazz who quickly became the de facto face of the young trans community. They decided they didn’t want their real last name to be public, and thus, adopted the “Jennings” name for the entire family.
With Jazz having a lot to deal with for a 14-year-old, the name change adds a layer of protection for the girl as well as for Sander, Griffen, and Ari. Jazz’s parents, Greg and Jeanette, have led the charge in supporting their kids and even helped their daughter stave off puberty with hormone treatment in years prior.
Greg explained the decision to ABC News, saying he and Jeanette were “in 100 percent agreement as to how we should raise Jazz,” name changes and all.
5. In the Show’s Upcoming Season, the Brothers Continue Supporting Jazz Throughout Her Surgery
Their sister’s gender confirmation surgery will be a large storyline of the series’s fifth season. TLC’s official episode description reads, “Jazz prepares for a final weigh-in for her gender confirmation surgery. Meanwhile, Dr. Bowers shocks Greg and Jeanette with changes to the surgical plan. Jazz and her friends head out for a night of fun at prom, but it turns into a nightmare.”
“I’ve gone through the whole medical process, and this is really the last thing that will validate my identity as a woman,” Jazz told ABCNews. “There is nothing else after this. I just get to be myself, be in the body that I’ve always wanted. And then I can live my life as just Jazz.”