The activist and reality TV star calls her scars her "battle wounds."

By Claire Gillespie
January 02, 2020
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It’s not only a new year—it’s a new decade, and naturally that means a new social media craze: #DecadeChallenge. And for one young woman, the last decade has truly been transformative.

On New Year’s Eve, reality star and LGBTQ+ activist Jazz Jennings shared pictures of herself in a swimsuit, with scars clearly visible on the tops of her thighs. Jennings underwent gender confirmation surgery in June 2018, and she ended up needing a second procedure after an unexpected complication. 

The images speak for themselves, but the caption makes it even more of a punch-the-air moment. 

“These are my scars on full display in #2019,” wrote Jennings, star of I Am Jazz, which has documented her life and gender transition since 2015. “I'm proud of my scars and love my body just the way it is. I call them my battle wounds because they signify the strength and perseverance it took to finally complete my transition❤️#decadechallenge.” 

On Dec. 30, Jennings posted a throwback video of herself thanking her fans for their support as she recalled the unexpected post-surgery complication she suffered in 2018 during the final step of her transition. 

“I experienced a major complication with my gender confirmation surgery and wound up back in the OR one week after the initial procedure,” she wrote. “It was a tough journey, but experiences like that one only make us stronger in the end."

In an interview with Nightline in October 2018, four months after the surgery, Jennings first spoke about the complication. 

“There was just an unfortunate event and setback where things did come apart, and there was a complication,” she said. “I had to come back in for another procedure, but it was just all part of the journey. The good thing though is that it was only cosmetic and external so it wasn’t too dramatic.” 

Jennings revealed that her family also had to go for an innovative new treatment in the field of genital reconstruction.“They’re using the tissue I have, the peritoneum, and also, they may take a skin graft as well. I say it's going to be like a patchwork vagina, Franken-vagina,” she said.   

After having her surgeries and graduating valedictorian from Broward Virtual School in summer 2019, Jennings is currently on a gap year before attending Harvard University. 

She revealed on Instagram that it “wasn’t an easy decision,” but it was the right one for her. “These past few years have been so full and busy that I realized I could use some time to refocus and recenter to be the strongest version of myself,” she wrote. “I am so grateful to have the support of my parents and Harvard in making this decision and look forward to focusing on some self-care and getting prepared to start this exciting next chapter in my life❤️”

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