Jazz, a 13-year-old transgender advocate who has worked with GLAAD and has even started her own foundation to help transgender youth, is now a published author! Jazz wrote a children's book called "I Am Jazz" to tell her own story as well as teach kids about what it means to be transgender.
You may have seen or heard of Jazz before. The young teen attended the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in 2013, where she spoke onstage with actresses Elle Fanning and Alex Newell, calling for more diverse representations of LGBT youth in the media.
GLAAD also worked with MTV and Jazz in 2013 to tell the story, appropriately titled "12-Year-Old Transgender Girl, Jazz, Inspires Us All," which encourages us all to speak out in support of equality.
And more recently, Jazz was recognized as a young trailblazer at Logo TV's Trailblazers, an event that aired on Logo last night to celebrate individuals who have had a profound impact on the LGBT community. Jazz joined three other young activists as they were applauded for their work tied to the Trevor Project that saves the lives of young LGBT people. Check out this clip:
Jazz has gotten a lot of media attention throughout the years and has inspired many people with her courage to be herself and speak openly about her experiences. She was banned for 2 and a half years from playing the sport she loves, soccer, on the girls' team and her story led to policy changes for all future transgender players within the US Soccer Federation. At age 11 Jazz was the subject of the documentary I Am Jazz which debuted on OWN, was interviewed by Barbara Walters on 20/20, and was the youngest person ever to be honored by the Advocate's "Top 40 Under 40" annual list. She told the Advocate:
"I want to help other transgender people be true to themselves. A lot of transgender kids don't have the support of a family like I do, and I just wanted to share that it's OK to step out of their shadows and tell their parents how they really feel inside. You can still be loved if you are transgender."
Now Jazz can add "published author" to her long list of accomplishments. Jessica Herthel, co-author of "I Am Jazz," told NBC, "The philosophy of the book is just to start a conversation with very young kids in very simple terms so that transgender isn't scary and it's not complicated."
The book is one of the first of its kind, as there are very few children's books out there that transgender children can relate to. Laverne Cox, transgender activist, Orange is the New Black actress, and one of Jazz's idols, said:
"This is an essential tool for parents and teachers to share with children whether those kids identify as trans or not. I wish I had had a book like this when I was a kid struggling with gender identity questions. I found it deeply moving in its simplicity and honesty."
All proceeds of "I Am Jazz" will go to the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation, a nonprofit organization that is committed to enhancing the lives of transgender children. Jazz's parents Greg and Jeanette are co-founders and board members, and hope to inspire others by spreading their message of unconditional love and acceptance. Jazz also recently took her love for mermaids and started a company called Purple Rainbow Tails that makes custom mermaid tails, with much of the money also being donated to the TranksKids Purple Rainbow Foundation.
"I Am Jazz" will be released on September 4th, and is available for pre-order now.