I love to see a happy, well-adjusted childhood, don't you? I encourage you to watch this whole interview because Jazz and her family are really quite lovely.
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Barbara Walters: Good evening, they are the words that any parent would want to hear about their daughter, "She is such a remarkable little girl." For a girl named Jazz, the word remarkable doesn't begin to cover it. At just 11 years old she has taken what most children and their families would regard as a terrible secret and brought it smashing into the open. She is the brave and beautiful new face of a child born in the wrong body.
Barbara Walters: Describe Jazz to us.
Jeanette: Vibrant, happy, full of life, self confident, beautiful, glowing.
Barbara Walters: Feminine?
Jeanette: So feminine.
Barbara Walters: She wears pink cleats on the soccer field . . .
Jazz: Do you like my new bra?
Barbara Walters: . . . and padded bras. She not only dreams of mermaids, she swims like one. If you didn't know it would you believe this 11-year-old girl was biologically a boy. Let's get this straight Jazz, are you a boy or a girl?
Jazz: I am definitely a girl. Like that's all I consider myself as.
Jazz: I'm sorry I know I never do anything with my hair, but . . .
Barbara Walters: Jazz is transgender. A boy living as a girl.
Jazz: I have a girl brain and a boy body.
Barbara Walters: When we first met Jazz in 2007, she was only six years old. And one of the youngest documented cases of an early transition for male to female.
Jeanette: We'll say things like "God made you special" because there aren't very many little girls out there that have a penis.
Barbara Walters: At age 5, her parents Jeanette and Greg made an extraodinary decision. They allowed Jazz to openly identify in the opposite gender because they and their doctor were convinced this was not a phase, but a condition now called Gender Dysphoria.
Jeanette: A phase is called a phase because it is just that, it ends, and this is not ending. This is just getting stronger.
Barbara Walters: As difficult as it is for people to understand, you only had to walk into Jazz's bedroom, as I did, . . .
. . . Oh how pretty! . . .
. . . to know this was not a passing fad. It was filled with girly things, dresses and dolls, but it was the pictures she drew that made Jazz's world crystal clear. Tell me about this picture, why is that little girl crying?
Jazz: Because she wants to wear the dress to school.
Barbara Walters: And mommy won't let her.
Barbara Walters: But now does mommy let the little girl wear a dress?
Barbara Walters: Is the little girl you?
Barbara Walters: Five years later, Jazz is still Jazz. Has Jazz shown any desire to change and go back to being a boy?
Barbara Walters: Today Jazz's bedroom is lined with photos from cheerleading and girls soccer. She draws and
sews, carefully seaming together her own mermaid outfits.
Jazz: The motion makes you feel like an actual mermaid.
Barbara Walters: In fact many young male-to-female transkids are obsessed with mermaids.
Jeanette: I believe its because ambiguous genitalia. There's nothing below the waist, but a tail. And how appealing is that for somebody who doesn't like what's down there?
Barbara Walters: No one knows why thousands of children like Jazz are transgender. There are only theories.
Jazz: Mom, is that a mermaid?
Barbara Walters: Despite growing awareness, many still face unthinkable obstacles. From a world that sees them as freaks of nature. Do people treat you differently when they know you're transgender?
Jazz: Yes, they do. They don't understand what the concept means and they think that I'm weird and that I shouldn't have the same rights as them just because of what's between my legs.
Barbara Walters: You know that there are people who think you could of prevented it. Why did you allow it to happen?
Jeanette: Yeah. There's people definitely think that.
Barbara Walters: And what do you say?
Jeanette: I don't really care what they think.
Barbara Walters: Jazz is fortunate. Her parents and three siblings accept her, and, as much as they can, keep her safe, which is why they asked us not to use their last name or location.
Gary: I think the family is very supportive of Jazz. We've tried to make things as normal an ordinary American family as we can. The older twins are always looking out for Jazz. Ari, the older sister, and her friends hang out with Jazz. They treat Jazz like a little sister.
Barbara Walters: What do you explain to people about your sister?
Ari: I tell people its a disorder and that it wasn't... its not by choice.
Barbara Walters: How do you feel, Jazz, when you sister says its a disorder?
Jazz: Personally, I don't like that word that much. I'd prefer special or unique because that's what I think transgender is.
Barbara Walters: But others have different words to describe Jazz, hateful words, as they discovered after posting this video on YouTube.
Jazz: Hi, I'm Jazz. I'm 11 years old. I'm was born a boy, but I live as a girl.
Barbara Walters: Sharing Jazz's story has come at a price. Are you ever worried about your safety? I mean does anybody threaten you?
Jazz: Yeah. On the YouTube videos some people who are less understanding actually say very nasty and rude comments. It definitely hurts to hear them say that they would want to kill me or something like that.
Jeanette: They can't wrap their mind around the idea of a transgender kid and I want to tell everybody they're wrong and show Jazz because when people meet her, they start to get it.
Jazz: One. Go.
Barbara Walters: Jazz has a handful of girlfriends. They've all started middle school, a challenging and vicarious time, but especially for a transgender tween. She's enrolled in school as a girl, thanks to her parents lobbying, and her passport even shows her as female. The faculty and some students know about her special situation, she uses the girls bathroom. and even plays on the girls soccer team. You love to play soccer.
Barbara Walters: And you're pretty good at it, right?
Barbara Walters: But at the age of eight she was banned from girls soccer by league officials. What do you say to people who say, "You know, she's biologically a boy, therefore, she's stronger and she shouldn't be on that team?"
Jazz: I do not agree with them because I am like one of the smallest people on my team compared to the other girls. They are all very tall and more masculine and I'm sort of smaller, but I am quicker.
Barbara Walters: Jazz fought back and after a two-and-a-half-year legal battle, won the right to play as a girl, an unprecedented victory that opened the door for all transgender kids. Jazz is clearly making a difference and embracing the spotlight advocating for transgender rights, receiving awards, posing on the red carpet, meeting stars like Debra Messing and riding in New York's gay pride parade.
Jeanette: She's a wonderful spokesperson for transkids because she's a happy transgender kid and those two words are never in the same sentence.
Barbara Walters: Happy but perplexed by her latest new challenge. You are getting to the age, Jazz, when girls and boys date. Are you attracted to girls or boys?
Jazz: I'm attracted to boys.
Barbara Walters: Are you afraid you might not have dates with boys
Jazz: I am a little bit, but if any of the boys decline me because of my situation, then I just know they're not right for me at all.