Transgender teen Jazz Jennings spoke out about her experiences with gender confirmation surgery, which she had back in June.
Jennings told ABC, “It was like a dream. It was. This is a moment that I had always envisioned and just experiencing it was so surreal. I was like I can’t believe this is happening.”
She also sat down with TLC’s I Am Jazz, saying she hopes to create real change and promote greater understanding of transgender experiences. She said, “From the time I was six years old, I’ve been sharing my story. And you know at first I thought, ‘Okay, this is all going to come to an end one day and then I’ll be able to live my life.’ But more and more I realized that I was given this platform for a reason and that I have a strong and powerful voice.”
Jennings started transitioning at the age of five, and was faced with several issues before she could undergo her surgery in June. She had to lose 30 pounds, find a skilled surgeon, and also deal with having to fashion a vagina out of a penis. She said:
“They’re using the tissue I have, the peritoneum, and also, they may take a skin graft as well. I say it’s going to be like a patchwork vagina, Franken-vagina. So yeah, as long as it’s functional, that’s all that matters.” She said that despite this, she still wants it “to look somewhat pretty.”
The teenager also revealed, “There was just an unfortunate event and setback where things did come apart and there was a complication. I had to come back in for another procedure, but it was just all part of the journey. The good thing though is that it was only cosmetic and external so it wasn’t too dramatic.”
Before her surgery, Jennings wrote on Instagram, “My surgery date is coming up in less than a month and I can’t wait! I’ve been ready to get this operation for so long as it’s the final step to complete my transition.”
After the surgery, “The way I am confident is by loving myself unconditionally and realizing that the perceptions of others only influence me if I allow them to. I don’t let the beliefs or opinions of others influence my emotions; the only view that matters is self-perception. I’ve been able to carve out my own path in life by allowing my emotions to guide me in determining where my joy and purpose lies.”
She added, “I’m proud of myself for that, but I wish for everyone to be able to fulfill their full potential in the same way. I have so many low moments where the negativity pierces through my shield of light. These times are hard and the pain is deepened by the perspectives and beliefs of all who surround me. However, if we can remain in a place of love, joy, and co-creation, then the beauty of the world will persist all negative forces. Be confident, Be you, Be love.”
Jenning’s surgery will be documented in the next season of I Am Jazz.