“What does being transgender mean?” “You mean she’s

    “What does being transgender mean?”  “You mean she’s a guy?”  “How can you tell if someone is transgender?”  “Do I call you a she?”  I had so many questions when I first met my tutor, but I was afraid to ask them.  So, I asked my mom because she knows a lot about things.  She encouraged me to talk to my tutor about my questions because it was clear that my tutor, a he, was turning into a she.  She would come to my sessions with bright pink nail polish, stockings and heels, and carried a pink phone with glitter.  Each session, he looked more and more like a she.    I chose the book, Being Jazz:  My Life as a (Transgender) Teen because it reminded me of my tutor.  Fernando now wanted me to call her Fernie.  I really liked my tutor and did not mind that Fernie was transgender.         I could not wait to read all about the life of a transgender teen.  Jazz Jennings, the author of the book, wrote the book to help other transgender teens deal with who they are without having to feel weird or alone.  Jazz wanted to let everyone reading her book know what things were like for her from the moment she was born. She talked about when she first knew that something was not correct with her mind and body and how she acted and thought about things like singing mermaids and dressing up in costumes of princesses, but had “boy parts.”  At first, her parents and friends just thought that she was going through a phase, but it never ended.  Jazz said that it actually got worse.  By the time she was in kindergarten, her family and friends began to accept her as a girl instead of a boy.  She said that she was never going to forget the first time her mom put her hair into a ponytail and said, “You’re such a pretty girl.”  Jazz said she knew right then that everything was going to be just fine.  That was not how things were. Throughout the book, Jazz talked about problems she faced when people found out that she was transgender.  One of her biggest problems came when she wanted to play on the girl’s soccer team.  People in her community had no problem letting her do it but when she tried to play against other teams that were outside of her community, she was told that she could not play.  Jazz’s parents got so angry because they knew that Jazz was a really good soccer player and deserved to play.  Her parents tried and tried to get soccer associations to let her play on a girl team, but every league turned her down.  Finally, Jazz’s father convinced her to play on the boy’s team.  She played until the end of the season but she was miserable.  Her dad saw how horrible she had been feeling and decided to fight even harder to get Jazz on a girl’s team.  He fought all the way to the top of the soccer associations and finally got them to agree to let her play on the team that she wanted.This book let me know just how hard it can be to change the minds of people that are not open minded.  I learned that fighting for your rights is the most important thing you can do and that you should never give up until you are treated fairly.  Jazz never gave up and got to meet a lot of famous people that found out about her issues with being transgender.  She got to meet President Obama and Oprah!I learned two important things from this book.  I learned that family is important when you have to do things that are difficult to deal with or do.  Without family, you can feel as if no one is there to help you.  You feel alone and can start to doubt yourself.  This does not help you to fight for your rights.  It makes you want to just give up.The other thing I learned was that being transgender is different from being lesbian or gay.  Jazz said that in every way she felt and believed that she was a girl.  She liked dolls, playing dress-up and she liked boys!  She was not a boy who liked boys.  All through the book she kept having to convince people that she was a GIRL!If I ever got the chance to meet Jazz Jennings, I would tell her how I like her confidence and her being able to write an entire book about herself knowing that there are many people out there who think that people like Jazz just choose to be a girl or a boy.  They do not understand that it is not a choice.