TERFs (or trans exclusionary radical feminists) are men and women that do not consider male-to-female transexual women as victims of patriarchal society as biological women, and therefore excluded from the feminist struggle for sociopolitical equality. It's a mouthful, but it points to an important cleave that's receiving more and more public attention.
Marginalization of transexuals within the queer community is not new. For years mainstream gay lobbying groups have myopically overlooked the transexual community in pursuit of political gains for non-transitioning queers. Yet, with more transexuals coming into the public eye, America is taking a second look at this once passed-over minority.
At first look, Jazz Jennings seems like the typical preteen girl: long hair, gangly, and into Ariana Grande. Few would guess that at the age of 6, Jazz, born male, asked her parents for a sex change. For her parents, Jazz's request came as no surprise. Though Jazz looked like a boy, ever since she was born she thought and acted like a girl.
Her story quickly went viral, and it wasn't long before the precocious 7-year-old sat opposite Barbra Walters as she explained her gender identity to the world.
"It wasn't like I realized I wasn't a boy, I always felt like I was girl," said the tween activist in a recent phone interview with the New Times.
What makes this little girl unlike her fellow transgendered cohorts is how early the transition to her self-identified gender happened. While most transgendered kids start to feel uncomfortable with their biological sex around pubescence, Jazz started self-presenting female way before those hormones started pumping, a move that some psychologists say is less damaging to the emotional stability of the child.
Ever since then, the now 12-year-old has been the face of transgendered youth in the U.S. Her struggle inspired the foundation of the Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting transactivism nationwide.
Jazz's latest project is a collaboration with fellow trans activist and author Jessica Herthel to adapt her life's story in an instructional children's book, I Am Jazz.
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"We wanted to make something that would help other trans kids who are struggling with their identity," Jennings said.
If you'd like to meet the pair, Herthel and Jazz are making a joint appearance at Books & Books on Sunday, September 7, at 2 p.m., to promote their release, meet fans, and spread the word on trans positivity to locals.
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