Jazz Jennings is calling for people to "stop banning my book" as her autobiography I Am Jazz continues to be prohibited from libraries nationwide.
The 21-year-old is a reality television personality, author and advocate for LGBTQ rights as her TLC show documented her life as one of the youngest people to publicly come out as transgender. Now as an adult she continues to speak up about the discrimination she faces as a trans woman, specifically when it comes to the limitations being placed on her book.
"My name is Jazz and I was assigned male at birth. At age 2, I expressed I knew I was a girl. At age 5, I began my social transition. And today, despite living my life as a proud trans woman, my children’s book I Am Jazz is banned all over the country," she said in an Instagram video posted on Tuesday. "Legislators ban the book out of fear that it will recruit or brainwash kids into being LGBTQ+. It does not. The book is about identity and it helps so many transgender youth learn about their personal self identity and who they are and it helps families better support their transgender child and friends better support their transgender friend."
Jennings co-wrote the book with Jesica Herthel and published it in 2014 when she was just 14 years old. It quickly proved to be controversial as it appeared on banned books lists. It even made its way to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom's list of Top 10 Banned and Challenged Books by 2015 and sat as number 13 on the association's list of the 100 most banned or challenged books of the decade, from 2010 through 2019.
When the list was released in 2020, Jennings told Yahoo Life that it was "both disappointing and honorable" to be named.
"In one way, it’s upsetting to know that there is still is so much stigma and controversy about a subject that has been prevalent within our society, but at the same time, there is some pride in knowing that the book is out there and still making waves," she said. "It’s another stepping stone towards creating equality and ensuring that all people are respected and treated as equals, even those who are different."
Today, she continues to fight to make that happen.
"LGBTQ+ people belong," she said in her recent post. "Allowing us to share our stories creates a more inclusive and welcoming world for all people."
Jennings received praise in her comment section from supporters who were thrilled to hear her speak out on the issue.
"You are an amazing and beautiful human being. I am such a fan of you and your family. The support they have given you has been incredible and you have helped give hope to others who are going through a journey to be their authentic selves," one person wrote. "Please never give up trying to help people and also in believing in yourself. You are so special Jazz."
Her brother, Sander Jennings also shared his approval of the message.
"So proud of you always!" he wrote. "LGBTQ+ stories like yours should be celebrated, not banned."
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