Transgender Identity

Backstory: the I am Jazz series is a reality show documenting the life of a child named Jazz, who identified herself at a very young age as “a girl in a boy’s body.” The I am Jazz series is currently in its 4th season on TLC. Unfortunately, the earlier seasons are no longer available (without cost), but the interview below captures the issues of being a transgender child. One of the things that students often wonder about is how much Jazz’s parents “pushed” Jazz into this role; according to early interviews, Jazz’s parents resisted Jazz’s wish to do and be all things female. They acknowledge that the decision to allow their son to publicly become their daughter was difficult, but necessary for their child’s happiness. By the way, the family has an older sister and two twin brothers; all three are cisgender (matching the gender they were born with). For your mini-lecture, view the Katie Couric interview with Jazz, who was age 14 at the time. Use the text material and the interview to address the prompt. As human beings, we like things straightforward and simple – not too much thinking involved. That’s not a bad thing; it’s probably useful in some situations, but it’s not always useful in many person-to-person interactions. There’s been great progress in recognizing that “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” (and other labels that we like to use on people) aren’t as binary as we expect them to be: the idea that you are this or that, with nothing in-between, is often a false dichotomy. After viewing the video (see mini-lecture link), what are your thoughts about the parents’ decision to let Jazz transition from a biological male to a self-identified female? Do you agree with the parents’ decision? Why or why not?