Jazz Jennings began the new decade with a visual demonstration of self-love.
On New Year’s Day, the 19-year-old transgender activist posted a photo of herself in a swimsuit to Instagram. The visible scars on both of her upper thighs, she explained, were from gender confirmation surgery.
“I’m proud of my scars and love my body just the way it is,” she wrote. “I call them my battle wounds because they signify the strength and perseverance it took to finally complete my transition.”
Jennings posted the photo after a series of throwback snapshots and videos reflecting on the past decade, year by year.
“When people write messages saying that I’ve changed or even saved their lives, it’s just the craziest thing ever,” she said in the video. “If I’ve been able to make that difference for any of you out there, then I’m just so glad. It makes all of this storytelling worth it.”
Jennings, who hails from Florida, is known worldwide as one of the youngest publicly documented people to identify as transgender. A documentary about her life, “I Am Jazz: A Family in Transition,” aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network in 2011, and the TLC series debuted four years later. In 2016, she published a memoir, “Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen.”
She’s also emerged as a staunch LGBTQ rights advocate in recent years, defending the right of trans people to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity, among other issues.
“From the time I was 6 years old, I’ve been sharing my story,” she told ABC in 2018. “At first I thought, ‘Okay, this is all going to come to an end one day and then I’ll be able to live my life.’ But more and more I realized that I was given this platform for a reason and that I have a strong and powerful voice,”
Jennings’ mother, Jeanette, said she was “thrilled” for her daughter having completed the gender confirmation process in a 2019 episode of “I Am Jazz.”
“This is a huge thing,” Jeanette Jennings said. “She waited for this for so long, and it’s here and I’m just happy for her.”