I am just a typical teen girl living my life…who happens to be transgender. That’s what I wish people would understand. This wasn’t a “choice.” I was just born this way.
There has been a lot more awareness and visibility within this past year for the transgender community. People are really starting to open up their minds, and I think that’s incredible. But we have a long way to go for acceptance.
There are so many trans kids who are struggling with who they are. I want them to know that one day, they will find the light. No matter what, we have to be who we are. Once you love and accept yourself, then others will slowly do so, as well.
Acceptance is so important because we cannot go through this journey alone. I am fortunate to have a very supportive family, but not all trans kids are so lucky. I recommend seeking out a friend or an adult who you think will accept you and telling them how you feel. That might even come in finding a support group at your school or in your community, like the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance), where you can talk to other kids like yourself.
Within the next few years, I hope that kids like me won’t have as hard a time. I don’t want to hear about any more trans kids committing suicide because they don’t feel loved. I want people to feel happy in their own skins and feel accepted by society.
Progress can’t happen just from trans people being out in the open. Society also has to truly accept transgender individuals. If society is capable of treating us equally, then we can and will live authentically. And that acceptance starts here with all of us now.
Jazz Jennings is an LGBTQ activist, author, Youtube and television personality, and honorary co-founder of the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation.