Jazz Jennings has been an advocate for transgender rights since she was a little girl.
Given how eloquently she explained herself in interviews as a child, it is no surprise that Jazz got into Harvard.
She has, however, deferred enrollment so that she can work on her mental health before venturing into the Ivy League.
In the I Am Jazz Season 7 trailer, Jazz is navigating body shaming and mental wellness while her brother navigates a new romance.
“Two years ago,” Jazz explains to the camera, “I was on my way to one of the greatest institutions in the world.”
She is, of course, referring to her admission to Harvard University.
“But I was actually struggling severely with mental health issues,” Jazz shares in the confessional.
Like so many struggling with their mental health, she found a coping mechanism.
“I started binge eating,” Jazz shares, “and I gained weight and more weight and more weight”
” And now, almost 100 lbs. heavier, here I am today,” she announces.
It’s very clear in the trailer that Jazz is making an effort to lose the weight that she has gained.
She is participating in new fitness activities.
Jazz is also seen documenting her weight gain, likely so that she can one day look back and view any changes.
Jazz’s family is also involved in her weight loss journey, though it appears to be counter-productive.
“II do experience fat-shaming from my family,” she admits to the camera.
Jazz expresses: “It makes me feel really humiliated.”
Sure enough, we see elements of that as she is critiqued and even shamed for little things.
Sure, listing what she has for breakfast is a good way to begin examining how to cut back in that area, if that is her goal.
But policing how much butter is used in a pasta dish could be very counterproductive.
In fact, many people attempting to alter their diets have found that body-shaming makes it more difficult to change their habits.
First, it can worsen causal issues like depression or anxiety that fuel the eating habits.
Second, as may be happening with Jazz, being “called out” for a food choice can send a person into a panic where they eat more, not less.
Jazz also has to prepare to attend college after a delay.
It looks like her family is concerned that she is not up to it, specifically not able to get herself up in the mornings.
Meanwhile, Jazz wishes that they would show more confidence in her instead of assuming that she will fail.
Depression can make it extremely difficult for people to get up in the mornings.
There are a number of strategies for waking up, including a modified bedtime and taking alarm-setting seriously.
We have every confidence that Jazz can get up for her classes if she puts her mind to it.
Jazz is not the only member of the family with a storyline this season.
Her brother, Sander, is seen going ice skating with Hope.
They seem to have a great time, but he is aware that he has never dated a trans woman before.
Sander speaks about this relationship with his friend, a RuPaul’s Drag Race alum named Peppermint, while they hang out in a jacuzzi.
He confesses to her that he’s not sure if he’s ready for sex with someone who has “not received her bottom surgery yet?”
(Just for the record, while Jazz has had bottom surgery, not all trans folks obtain, seek, or even desire genital surgery — genitals aren’t gender)
In other words, Sander realizes that he is in unfamiliar territory and is speaking with a friend.
While it’s awkward to see a conversation like this play out — since he is indirectly discussing a woman’s genitals — it could be important for viewers.
After all, I Am Jazz is first and foremost an educational show, one of the last vestiges of it on the so-called “Learning Channel.”
Season 7 will premiere on November 30 at 9pm on TLC.
That will be the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
It will be interesting to see Jazz and her family navigate both new and familiar hurdles. We wish her the best of luck!