Jazz Jennings is known as the star of TLC’s I Am Jazz, and for being an advocate for the trans teen community. Although she was born male, she was diagnosed with gender dysmorphia and has since transitioned to female. Because of this, “Jazz” was not the name her parents gave her at birth, and in order to maintain a level of personal privacy, “Jennings” is not her family’s real last name.
Jazz’s birth name was Jared. According to In Style, she chose the name Jazz after her sister played the role of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin in a school play. At the time the article was written in 2015, they said “her mother Jeanette only recently started calling her Jazz.”
In an interview with the Miami Herald, Jazz’s mom Jeannette revealed that “Jennings” is not actually their last name, saying “Jennings is our pseudonym, to sort of make life easier. We try to hide our real last name as much as possible. Our last name is a very Jewish, long last name. We found it easier at this point. She’s known as Jazz Jennings. With the TV show, they’re not going to tell anybody where we live. The TV show is not going to reference our true last name.” She asserts that they didn’t agree to tell their story on TV for fame. It took 20/20 10 months to get them to agree to do a special, and she told Metro Weekly that after the family agreed, they said “‘we don’t want to show our faces. And we certainly don’t want to give our first names or our last name. And you can do this and can’t do that.'” Though they chose to show their faces so that the public could really understand Jazz, they have continued to keep their last name secret as best as they can, considering their current fame.
Tonight’s season premiere episode description reads “Jazz prepares for a final weigh-in for her gender confirmation surgery; 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.” Her gender confirmation surgery will be a prominent plot point in this season of the show. Which makes sense, since Jazz told ABC News that the surgery was “really the last thing that will validate my identity as a woman. 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.”
Make sure to tune in to the new season of I Am Jazz on TLC, starting tonight (January 1) at 10pm ET/PT, 9pm CT.