Jazz Jennings Takes On Transgender Athlete Bans With Powerful Throwback Clip

Jazz Jennings is speaking out against lawmakers who want to restrict transgender athletes from playing on sports teams by reflecting on her own experiences with discrimination. 

On Tuesday, the 20-year-old trans activist and author posted a short video featuring archival footage from the TLC reality series “I Am Jazz.” The 2015 clip shows an 8-year-old Jennings posing in a soccer uniform as her father, Greg, tears up and begs a local team to allow his daughter to play. 

The video’s captions say that a trans-inclusive policy for student athletes was implemented about two years after Jennings’ family protested. Until then, she was allowed to practice with her team, but had to remain on the bench during actual games. 

“People argue that transgender woman have competitive advantages,” the captions read. “This is not true. My personal experiences and many statistics prove this. Today in 30+ states, including Florida, they are trying to ban transgender people in sports. These bills are discriminatory, increase exclusion, and have no merit.”

A day later, Jennings honored the International Transgender Day of Visibility with another adorable photo of her younger self. 

“The trans community is full of fighters, and we will not back down against the hatred, cruelty, and discrimination that we continually face,” she tweeted. 

Jennings posted the throwback clip after three states ― Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi ― passed bills last month prohibiting young trans athletes from joining sports teams that align with their gender. Similar legislation has advanced in at least 20 more states. 

On Monday, Arkansas passed a second bill prohibiting doctors from providing medically necessary treatment such as hormone therapies and transition procedures to trans kids. Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) is currently reviewing the bill but has yet to indicate whether he plans to sign it. 

A number of conservative lawmakers have cited President Joe Biden’s executive order prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in school sports and elsewhere as their incentive for backing such laws.  

“You have these politicians out there that have this fear of transgender kids, with bathrooms and now with sports,” Jennings’ mother, Jeanette, told The Guardian in an interview published Tuesday. “I don’t understand it. We fought so hard to win our battles. To see it all unraveling now is breaking my heart. I’m torn up about this. It’s discrimination at its ugliest.”

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