by Ty Slobe
Here at SPARK we love hearing stories about girl activists who use the media to share their stories and fight for equality, especially girls with diverse stories to tell. My personal favorite girl media activist is transgender tween superstar Jazz, who at just 12 years old has already made two appearances on 20/20 and won the Colin Higgins Youth Courage Award for LGBTQ kids.
Jazz and her family have shared their stories in the media in order to make the world a better place for other transgender kids. Jazz gives talks at conferences and dedicates tons of time to educating the world about what it means to be a trans kid. Her family even started the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation—which is an organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of trans kids and educating people about the difficulties that they face.
Jazz is an inspiration to girl activist everywhere, and the same issues that Jazz and other trans kids have been faced with as being transgender are issues that we should all be fighting to change as LGBTQ activists and feminists. That’s why I am so excited and honored that Jazz agreed to an interview with us!
What is important about sharing your story?
There are so few trans youth in the media. People need to understand kids like me. TV is great for educating. I want people to open their hearts and minds and show compassion and acceptance.
What are the biggest issues that face trans kids today?
There are so many issues…but the biggest ones are bullying and suicide. Trans youth are at the most risk of any other kids in our schools. Almost half will try to commit suicide, and a lot of the causes are from bullying and rejection.
Your family has been in the media a lot for being so supportive of your being transgender. Many trans kids do not have the same kind of support system, unfortunately. What advice would you give these kids?
I feel so bad for kids that aren’t accepted by their families, it’s so wrong. I want to hug them all, they deserve to be loved and accepted for who they are. I know a lot of schools have counselors that understand LGBTQ kids. I’d encourage them to confide in an adult at school, and surround themselves by friends who love them for who they are.
Who inspires you to pursue activism?
My family is my inspiration. They’ve shown me so much love and support, which has given me a lot of confidence and happiness. I want to teach other’s what they’ve taught me.
Your story has touched and inspired so many people. What is your proudest moment that has come out of being a trans activist?
My proudest moment was when I was awarded the Colin Higgins Youth Courage Award. I gave a speech at the Trevor Awards Gala to over 1,000 people and a bunch of them were very important and even famous. I met the group, FUN., I LOVE THEM. It was the greatest night of my life.
Trans issues are super important to feminism. How can girl activists and feminist warriors help fight for trans rights?
Just keep educating. We need more people to understand who we are.
What are your goals for the future and what do you hope to teach people about trans kids?
In the future, I’d like to see all trans kids happy like I am. I want President Obama to pass laws that will give equal rights to all trans people. I will keep speaking out until my goals are achieved. I want people to understand that we are just like everyone else. I always say that just because our brains don’t match our bodies doesn’t make us freaks or bad people. In fact, I think it’s the opposite; it makes us unique and special, which is pretty cool. Get to know us, you will love us.