ABC News introduces viewers to the challenges 11-year old Jazz Jennings encounters being transgender. Jazz explains that her genitalia pose the most difficult hurdle, serving as a reminder that she is not biologically female. While puberty is a trying time for most children, the story enumerates a host of additional concerns Jazz must face, from a deepening voice to growing facial hair. Jazz, with the support of her family, has decided to undergo hormone therapy that blocks testosterone to prevent these changes. She also considers taking estrogen in the future, knowing that there may be consequences of these hormone treatments in the future. ABC news first interviewed Jazz when she was 6 years old in 2007.
In what ways are the struggles Jazz encounters typical of 11-year-olds? In what ways are they different?
How did the interview frame Jazz’s situation? Why do you think the reporter, Barbara Walters, focused on the hurt Jazz may feel in relation to her transgender identity?
How do the questions Walters asks Jazz and Jazz’s parents differ?
Why do you think ABC has chosen to follow Jazz’s story over several years? How is this a news story? Are ABC or Jazz trying to impart a message to the audience?