'I'm a Girl' -- Understanding Transgender Children

A few years after beginning that regimen, Jazz will start taking estrogen, which will allow her body to go through a form of female puberty. She will grow breasts and her body fat will move to her hips. Most doctors will not perform sex reassignment surgery until the age of consent, 18. The Jennings say that if Jazz chooses to also take that step, they will fully support her. But they are also mindful of keeping all of Jazz's options open.

"We check in with her all the time," Renee said. "I tell her, I say, 'Jazz, if you ever feel like you want to dress like a boy again, cut your hair, you just let me know.' And she goes, 'Mommy, why would I want to do that?'"

While Jazz's parents now fully accept their son as their daughter, the transition has not been without considerable doubt and stress. Many parents grieve for the child that never was. "I mourn the loss of the idea of my son," Renee said. "I see pictures and the video, and that child's gone. But there's a wonderful person now that's with us."

By any measure, the Jennings home is a happy place. Kids play, kids fight. For now, Jazz lives safely inside a bubble, but the enormity of Jazz's situation is not lost on her parents.

"I always say that I'm in the front line. Jazz is protected, because she's not getting the slack, because I am putting out the fires before they burn her," said Renee. "I want to pave the way for a better life for her, and any trans kids. They didn't ask to be born this way."

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