It's been quite a week for 14-year-old transgender Jazz Jennings. The TLC Network announced a new reality show documenting Jazz's life as a gender stereotypical girl. Then he landed a deal as the face of Clean & Clear acne treatment products.
"The real me is happy and proud to be who I am," Jazz says in a video campaign created by Clean & Clear. "And I'm just having fun being one of the girls."
Parenting groups worry that Jazz's Clean & Clear campaign sends the wrong message to other troubled teenagers: if you don't like yourself the way you are, you can take dangerous hormones for the rest of your life or have radical surgery to remove your body parts.
At age 5, Jazz told his parents he was a girl. So they did what any well-meaning parents would do: they rushed out and bought him gender-specific feminine clothing, thereby reinforcing his obsession with stereotypical girlish things.
Clean & Clear appointed a cross-dressing boy with a mental disorder to help "teen girls who are struggling... to find themselves and be true to who they are." And yet Jazz can't be true to himself or accept himself as the boy he was born to be.
Jazz takes hormone blockers to keep his body in suspended adolescence by blocking production of male androgens, testosterone, which would trigger the onset of puberty.
Clean & Clear plans to use Jazz, who was diagnosed with the mental illness Gender Dysphoria, to positively reinforce body image in girls -- even as he struggles to maintain a false body image with the assistance of hormones and surgery.
If Jazz truly had a female brain -- as he and his supporters want you to believe, his brain would tell his adrenal glands to stop producing male hormones naturally. But that will never happen because his brain is that of a biological boy. And females don't need prostate exams.
"I hope they can learn to be brave and not care what other people think about them," says Jazz. It's a shame his parents didn't instill the same values in their son when he was playing dress up in his mother's closet.
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