The first episode of TLC’s I Am Jazz began on July 15, 2015. Titled “All About Jazz,” the opening episode aired at the same time as Caitlyn Jenner was making her ESPY award acceptance speech in Hollywood. Jazz and her family were in attendance. The timing was quite ironic. Thank goodness for DVRs. Jazz later said she was moved to tears by Caitlyn’s speech.
I was fortunate to view the premier showing of I Am Jazz two days prior to its television debut. Seated directly in front of Jazz and her family, I could see and hear their responses to the program up on a theater screen. It was an emotion-packed experience. Quite a privilege and honor for me to join them that day.
I’m so pleased that, like the Diane Sawyer interview with Caitlyn Jenner, this TLC series is turning out to be so much more than a typical reality TV show. I Am Jazz is an engaging, heartwarming, compelling program that showcases Jazz’s sense of humor, determination, and good-hearted nature. Same for the other members of her family. I have been very touched and moved by the story as it unfolds over the weeks of summer. Seeing Jazz’s daily life, viewers can begin to grasp what a challenge being trans is, both for the child and their family. Anyone who thinks being transgender is some kind of choice has no idea of the difficult journey involved.
I can assure any doubters, Jazz et al are “the real deal.” They agreed to undertake this huge project not for fame, and certainly not for the little monetary compensation provided on reality shows, (which in this case will help the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation). The Jennings’ sole motivation is to share their message of increasing the public’s understanding about transgender people, to open hearts and minds, and encourage acceptance of others who are, as Jazz says, “special and unique.” And they hope to help trans kids feel more accepting and loving of themselves, and show them and their families that things really can get better.
When this show began, I was concerned how TLC would present this series, but now I eagerly look forward to the next episode. Stay tuned for more.