'I Am Jazz' Star to Have Gender Reassignment Surgery on Anniversary of Gay Marriage Ruling
Jazz Jennings, the 17-year-old boy who identifies as a girl and has been a transgender celebrity since 2007, announced he would have "gender confirmation surgery" on the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage in 2015.
Jennings announced on YouTube that his surgery will take place on June 26, the third anniversary of the decision. He announced that his male genitals would be removed and replaced with a "vagina" constructed from them — and partially from his stomach tissue.
"I am so looking forward to it," Jennings said. "I'm gonna have new genitalia, like penis to vagina. That's some serious sh*t, y'all."
Especially in this young man's case, the surgery isn't quite that simple. Even if swapping the male sex organ for the female one weren't that big a challenge, Jennings' case would still require something abnormal — taking tissue from his stomach and turning it into a vagina.
Jennings was diagnosed with gender dysphoria (the persistent condition of identifying with the gender opposite one's biological sex) at age four, and his parents started treating him as a girl in social settings at age five. His first public appearance came before he was ten — an interview with Barbara Walters in 2007. Then came a documentary in 2011, a book called "I Am Jazz" in 2014, a television show of the same name starting the following year, and another book in 2016.
The two books are marketed to children and promoted in schools as evidence that transgender identity is normal. Even for transgender people, however, Jennings is abnormal in at least one respect.
"Because I started the blocker so early, I never went through puberty," Jennings explained. "I didn't develop as a male, like get a beard, mustache, deep voice..." but that also meant a lack of growth in his nether regions.
"I didn't have growth in that region and because there was a lack of tissue, they really didn't have enough material to construct the entire vagina, so they're using a special procedure where they extract by peritoneal lining ... a thin membrane that surrounds the stomach," the transgender celebrity said. He admitted that this procedure is "experimental."
"It's a little concerning because something could go wrong," the star added.
Jennings is right to be concerned. Not only are medical complications from such an invasive procedure common, but as recently as 2004 The Guardian published a review of multiple medical studies finding that there is no conclusive proof that sex change operations improve the lives of transgender people.
Cari Stella and Carey Callahan shared their deep regret on YouTube. Black actress and singer Montreea Bailey spoke with PJ Media about her painful experience living as a man, and how the gospel of Jesus Christ brought her back from a false identity. Twenty-one-year-old Max Robinson (a woman who thought she was a man, altered her body, and later rediscovered her identity as a woman) decried "gender confirmation surgery" as "not a cure at all."
Pediatricians have warned that transgender identity pushed on children constitutes "child abuse." While social and medical "confirmation" may make people struggling with gender dysphoria feel more accepted and understood, it cannot alter the fact that their bodies — down to the level of DNA — are either male (XY) or female (XX). Sex is not just "marked at birth," it is inherent in every single cell. Even Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, who had surgery to remove his penis, will always have masculine hands.
The TLC show "I Am Jazz" featured an interaction with the surgeon who will perform Jennings' procedure. In that video, Jennings said that he hadn't "experienced any sexual sensation," suggesting that the long-term puberty blockers he took had stymied his sexual development in more ways than one.
"It is possible that hormone suppression has affected my libido. I don't have the same signals coming from my genitalia to my brain and I don't have those hormones driving me on," he admitted, as if this was normal for a 17-year-old boy...
While the surgeon warned that "post-op depression is very common," she insisted that it "doesn't mean you're having regret."
Tragically, many in this movement — as in the LGBT movement more generally — tend to regard regret, in the form of de-transition or in the form of rejecting homosexuality to become heterosexual, as more than just rejection. They seem to see it as heresy, and many have demonized the ex-gay movement as a fraud.
The date of Jazz Jennings' surgery seems to underscore the unity of the LGBT movement — and his continued push for the limelight.
In the video announcing the surgery, Jennings addressed the criticism that he should not be so open about it. "A lot of people kind of judge me ... they're like 'Why are you talking about the surgery? It's too personal, you shouldn't be sharing all those details.'"
"The reason why I'm being so open and documenting my journey with this procedure is because I feel like education is super important," he explained. Jennings said he wished his example would guide parents with gender dysphoric kids.
LGBT activists seem to be in a rush to tell Jennings' story, with "I Am Jazz" pushed to elementary schools across the nation, and the teenage version marketed to high schools. Netflix has partnered with the LGBT organization GLAAD, to push videos showing people happily embracing a transgender identity.
However, if children learn about Jazz Jennings, then they should also learn about Cari Stella, Montreea Bailey, and Max Robinson. They should understand just how experimental many of these surgical "treatments" are. They should not valorize transgender identity, because even among those who get surgery, suicide rates are stubbornly — and tragically — high.
Jennings did not mention that June 26 is the anniversary of Obergefell in his video announcing the date of the surgery, but that does not mean this overlap is just a coincidence. He has long advocated for LGBT causes, not just transgender identity.
Whatever happens later this month, expect a third book along the lines of "I Am Jazz: And I've Got a Vagina," coming to high schools near you. Welcome to 2018.
Watch the video announcement below.