read this…then read on
there are quite a few role models for transgender girls…many of them are already all grown up and in the public eye, like laverne cox…laura jane grace, julia serrano…so many. but for ziona and i, there is one who stands above the rest. one whose story gave meaning to what zee was going through…and gave a clear way forward to the mother at her wit’s end who had no idea as to how to help her child.
at a time when my child was despairing over having been born in the wrong body, and i was scratching my head as to what was going on, jazz jennings shared a special and very personal story on a program hosted by barbara walters. the segment was called, ‘my secret self’ and jazz was among the young people telling the story of gender identity disorder. it aired here april 27th of 2007…6 months after ziona had used what little language her autism could allow her could muster, to explain to me the pain she was going through…the reason she wanted to die. (so god could get it right next time and zee have the girl body to match her girl self)…she knew she was a girl!
because of jazz and her family being brave, honest, and open about their experience i knew what i had to do and how we needed to move forward. i needed to believe her…and she needed to be allowed to be the girl she was born to be.
now zee is on puberty blockers to suppress the irreversible effects of testosterone, and is anxious for the day that she can get cross hormones, to grow breasts (but not too big, she says) and of course, she lives for the day that surgery will complete the process of her transition…for ziona, nothing short of the whole package will do, even tho she knows that she is already a girl to me and everyone else she knows. for ziona, having a body that perfectly reflects that reality…a body without any parts that belong on boys, is an absolute necessity.
without my having just so happened to be watching t.v. that night…without that jazz and her family had shared their story, and that barbara walters as host had lent the matter a serious and legitimate air, who knows what ziona’s reality might have been! because, even though i’ve been a part of the queer community for decades…it had never occurred to me that a child of 3 years old, my child…would have such a hard row to hoe!
so yes, there are many to whom young transgender girls can turn for examples of how to hold their heads up high, accept themselves and be proud. but for us, jazz will always be a sort of trailblazer entity…a girl, who like zee, just knew…and who shone a light in our darkest hours, that led us forward to brighter days!
thanks jazz! forever