Jazz Jennings has real problems that have nothing to do with Derick Dillard attacking her on Twitter. Besides, unlike Derick, Jazz is still on TV.
On the latest episode of I Am Jazz, she has a meeting to discuss the gender confirmation surgery that she’s wanted for all of her life.
Unfortunately, she’s told that she needs to lose weight first. 30 pounds, to be exact.
Back when we talked about the I Am Jazz trailer that teased this entire season, we mentioned issues that Jazz would be shown tackling.
One was dating. Jazz came out as pansexual a couple of years ago, but she hadn’t actually dated a girl before, which was a huge step.
Another was her continuing activism, which has involved Jazz facing off against some serious bigots over the years.
One huge thing (also specifically addressed in the new episode) was the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma.
But another, which really stole the show in the new episode, was that Jazz’s weight gain — though normal for a growing teenager — could prevent her from getting bottom surgery.
A quick aside, folks, because bottom surgery is not about your butt.
So, there’s top surgery — when someone gets surgery to essentially obtain or lose their breasts.
Not all trans people end up getting top surgery, because trans people experience body dysphoria to varying degrees, and some do not experience it at all.
(Some younger trans folks, thanks to the medical miracles of hormones and puberty blockers, don’t need top surgery because they were either able to grow their own breasts or avoid having them grow)
Many trans people don’t get bottom surgery. It’s expensive, potentially dangerous, and imperfect. And, again, gender isn’t synonymous to genitals and not every trans person has a problem with their anatomy.
However, this is a procedure that Jazz Jennings has wanted for her whole life.
Now that Jazz is 17, and with the support of her parents, she could be a rare case of a trans person receiving the surgery as a minor.
The trouble is that, as she learned on this new episode, hospitals aren’t going to budge about things like her body mass index.
Basically, because she’s a minor, she needs to be a “perfect” case for surgery if the hospital is going to go through with it.
Jazz’s surgeon, Dr. Marci Powers, puts it as delicately as she can:
“Your surgery will be very difficult in terms of what even the most experienced surgeons have encountered.”
She explains why:
“Not to bring up the bad news first, but you gained in your BMI.”
Most people don’t like that kind of news, but for Jazz, it could be get in the way of her living her best life.
Her surgeon continues:
“If we’re going to get a hospital to say, ‘we’re going to allow a surgery at age 17,’ you’re going to have to be at a lower BMI.”
And there’s no fudging it, unfortunately.
“Literally, they won’t approve it if your BMI is one dot over. When it translates to pounds, it’s about 30 pounds.”
30 pounds is a lot to lose, especially when you’re a growing teenager. And especially when you’re as tiny as Jazz Jennings is.
Jazz speaks in the confessional, revealing:
“I’m absolutely horrified.”
It probably didn’t help that she was on camera, either.
“I knew that my weight was a problem, but I didn’t realize that it could affect something that I’ve been waiting for my entire life.”
Jazz tweeted about the experience as the episode aired:
“My confidence constantly wavers & some days I love my new larger figure & other days I beat myself up about it. Even though I appear so strong, I’m still human and learning to love myself undeniably.”
We know that Jazz makes a lot of effort to lose weight.
And fans have noted that she appears to have lost some weight in her more recent photos. But … will it be enough?
Perhaps only time, and subsequent episodes of I Am Jazz, will tell.