Several weeks ago, transgender teen reality star and activist Jazz Jennings announced that she will finally have a vagina.
She has been waiting for this moment for her entire life, and it has arrived.
Jazz celebrated by sharing a post-op photo with her fans.
She had to lose 30 pounds before undergoing surgery, but she did it!
And now, Jazz can wipe away her dysphoria by having the body that she deserves.
Fans knew that she would be undergoing surgery on June 26, and she took to Instagram in the afternoon of June 28 to update them, writing:
“I’m doing great, thanks for all of the love and support!”
She followed that with a shining heart emoji.
Take a look at the hospital bed selfie that she shared along with her message:
Honestly, it speaks to how seriously she takes her role as an activist who works to raise awareness for the trans community that she left such an earnest message.
She’s a Gen Z kid, and even older Millennials these days tend to announce recoveries from surgery with bed selfies that read: “I lived b–ch.” It’s a meme.
Not all trans folks experience dysphoria with relation to their genitals. Gender, after all, is not defined by genitals.
But for those like Jazz who do experience dysphoria, living in a body that doesn’t match their identity — a body that constantly encourages society to view them in a certain way — can be agonizing.
Jazz is extraordinarily fortunate that, with the love and support of her family, she was able to undergo bottom surgery — that is what it is called when a trans person gets confirmation surgery on their genitals — at 17.
Her fans are overjoyed for her.
Jazz’s surgery was not without its challenges. Her efforts to lose weight were only part of that.
See, Jazz has been on puberty blockers — a good first step for any trans child who doesn’t want to see their body transformed by puberty hormones.
Puberty blockers are simple and reversible and safe, but gender confirmation surgeons have found that they mean that there is less tissue for them to use when performing bottom surgery.
Or, to be blunt: a trans girl who never went through puberty might have an otherwise easy time with her body, but she won’t have enough penile tissue for surgeons to use to make her new vagina.
“They didn’t have enough material to construct the entire vagina,” Jazz described to her followers in the weeks leading up to her surgery.
Jazz explains the solution: “So they’re using a special procedure to extract my peritoneal lining.”
The peritoneal lining is a membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and covers most of the intra-abdominal organs.
The membrane, as Jazz notes, is regenerative. You can think of it like an internal skin graft.
“They take that out laparoscopically through my bellybutton or whatever,” Jazz explains. “They use that and harvest that and use that to make the vaginal canal.”
And, as she explains, there are some definite benefits to using this method to perform the surgery.
“It’s better,” Jazz says. “Because it looks like real vagina tissue and it feels more like real vagina tissue.”
Jazz will of course have to recover from her surgery and become accustomed to her new anatomy.
Her fans are happy for her and showered her with congratulatory messages.
Unfortunately, Jazz has to contend with more than her share of trolls, even though she’s a teenage minor.
We’re not just talking about Derick Dillard’s transphobic attack. There are a lot of these people.
Just glancing at her post-op selfie, we could see multiple harassing messages from an Instagram account with no posts of its own that follows only Jazz — meaning that someone created it specifically to leave her nasty comments.
But Jazz explains why she puts up with the hate and vitriol instead of quietly transitioning and living her life outside of the spotlight.
“The reason why I’m being so open and documenting my journey with this procedure,” Jazz explains on her YouTube channel.
“Is because I feel like education is super important,” Jazz says. She’s right.
“If I put out this information for people to see,” Jazz continues. “They won’t need to ask any more questions.”
“And also,” Jazz adds. “It’s educational within the community, as well.”
Like we said, not all trans kids come from such loving and supporting families. But those parents who do support their kids might have questions.
“A lot of parents who have transgender kids are like, ‘what do I do? I don’t know much about this process!'” Jazz explains.
“And seeing our show kind of helps them realize what steps they could take to help their kids and what the journey might look like in the future,” Jazz concludes.