I Am Jazz encompasses the experiences of growing up as a transgender girl. Jazz is depicted as a stereotypical girl whose favorite color is pink, loves to dance, loves to wear make up, and loves dressing up as a mermaid when she goes swimming. The only issue is that Jazz was born a boy. Jazz’s parents had a difficult time understanding Jazz’s feeling and behaviors until a medical professional explained that Jazz was transgender. Jazz’s parents are very understanding of Jazz’s new identity and let her express herself by dressing up as a princess, growing out her hair, and allowing her to change her name. Thanks to her family’s support, Jazz is able to become a lot more comfortable with her transition and who she is as a person.Order now
Aside from the positive aspects of her transgender experience, Jazz also discusses some challenges she has faced such as persuading her school to let her use the girls’ bathroom, playing on the girls’ sports team, and dealing with bullies at school. Written by Jazz Jennings, a teen who identifies as transgender, and co-author Jessica Herthel, the book’s main objective is to begin a dialogue with students about gender identity, empathize with the struggles of transgender youth, and normalize the idea that being transgender is acceptable and natural. The book was challenged for a third time at Rocklin Academy Gateway in California after the book was presented to a class of kindergarteners. A transgender student brought in the book to read aloud to the class since she was in the middle of her transition. Multiple enraged parents came forward and removed their children from the class and called for a policy that would segregate transgender students from other students.
The school stood by their policies and allowing LGBTQ literature within classrooms to promote equality and decided to not create a policy that would segregate transgender students from others. However, the school did create a policy to warn parents when certain controversial topics are brought up in the classroom. The book, I Am Jazz, was challenged for addressing gender identity because of society’s negative views towards the LGBTQ community and can be further analyzed by applying the theories and literary works of James Lull, Michel Foucault, Alex Gino, and Susan Lehr to explain the prevalence of transphobia today and why this book can benefit younger readers.
James Lull’s literary work on hegemonic structures provides an in-depth look into how transphobia and the oppression of the LGBTQ community began and how it has always been a problem within society. The hegemony creates society’s current ideologies which have perpetuated the ideas and behaviors of toxic masculinity and femininity within youths. It has been determined that a baby’s sex at birth automatically determines their gender for life and is impossible to change.
From then on, their sex determines how society behaves towards them and what behaviors are considered acceptable. Men and young boys hold the dominant position within society and are expected to be strong, stern, aggressive, independent, and smart. Women and young girls are expected to be fragile, dependent, naïve, and ignorant when compared to men. From a young age, these children are only allowed to participate in activities and play with toys that are considered appropriate for their “gender”. A little boy playing with a barbie doll or a little girl playing with army general action figure is considered odd and unnatural. This hegemonic structure explains exactly why society has gained such a negative perspective on the LGBTQ community, more specifically the transgender community. Transgender people are viewed as odd, unnatural, and mentally unstable because they go against society’s principles and the idea that gender cannot be and is not fluid.