Shortly after the star of TLC’s “I Am Jazz” underwent gender reassignment surgery, Jazz Jennings met the teenager, who would become her first boyfriend, online.
However, as Dearly previously reported, soon after their relationship became “official,” Jennings learned that her boyfriend’s mom didn’t approve of her lifestyle as a transgender female.
Ahmir told Jennings in an earlier episode:
“She didn’t acknowledge you for who you were. So it was like, she would say ‘he’ and ‘that’s a man because he was born a man.’”
Jazz responded by saying:
“So she misgendered me. She just sees me as a guy.”
In the most recent episode, Jazz and Ahmir are seen spending more time together in New York, where Ahmir got a glimpse into Jazz’s real life, including her job as an advocate and an inside look into her recent bottom surgery.
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Catch a new episode of #IAmJazz tonight at 9 PM on @tlc to meet someone who holds a very special place in my heart❤️ Thank you @ahmirsteward for going on this incredible journey with me; you are one of the kindest, most creative, and brilliant people I've ever met! I hope you all like him as much I do!!?
The episode also revealed the phone conversation Jazz had with Ahmir’s mom in an attempt to persuade her to approve of their relationship. As Jazz said:
“It certainly doesn’t help our relationship that Ahmir’s mom isn’t supportive. She needs to give me a chance.”
Ahmir, who was apprehensive about allowing Jazz and his mom to speak because it could lead to him being kicked out of his house, ultimately agreed to a phone conversation.
However, it did not go over well, as Ahmir expected:
Ahmir’s mom, Tara: “Let me just say for myself, my idea of my children is to have kids, have grandkids, and do it the way I expect or I feel, personally, is the natural way or the right way of doing things.”
Jazz: “I want to understand from you what the problem is if he is dating someone transgender, as long as he is happy, shouldn’t that be the priority?”
Tara: First Jazz, what you need to understand is when he first said something to me, I said, ‘Well son, are you telling me that you are gay?’ ‘Oh well, I’m not gay, I’m not gay. No way, I’m never that.’ Okay, well let me tell you this, just in case you don’t understand and maybe Jazz can tell you, if you are with somebody, whether you change their appearance or they live a different way. She was still born the same way you were born. And if that is the case, then yes you are gay.”
Jazz: “First of all, I am a woman. And my biology yes, you could always say that my chromosomes are male. However, my brain, my mind, my soul that is all female, that is all woman. And that doesn’t make Ahmir gay because he’s not attracted to men, he’s attracked to women and I am a woman. And even if he was gay, fine call him gay, why does it matter?
Tara: “I have a friend whose nephew is living the same way you are living. And believe me, dear, anytime I came home to talk about him, [Ahmir] didn’t want to talk about it, ‘That’s disgusting, that’s nasty.’ He has friends who he later found out were gay, my son didn’t even want to mention or have a conversation about something like that. Because anything, whether it be Trans, gay, lesbian, whatever, Ahmir was totally against it.”
Tara added that this is why she has a problem with his relationship with Jazz. Ahmir told Jazz that his mom was spewing “lies,” before hanging up the phone.
Eventually, Jazz convinced him to call Tara back in order to continue the conversation. The second time around went worse than the first.
— TLC Network (@TLC) March 6, 2019
After listening to why Tara doesn’t understand the lifestyle of transgender people, Jazz said:
“I hope that one day you can understand that I am who I am and we’re forming a great relationship and I wish that you can be a part of it, but if you choose not to be then I guess it is the way it is.”
Tara then responded by saying, “Okay, then here’s another thing, why do you feel like anybody who is of whatever sex or whatever they want to believe try to reverse it and play the victim all the time? You’re saying to me, ‘Oh well if you don’t want to accept this and if you don’t want to accept that.’ What about accepting people for who they are?”
Jazz then got angry:
“I’m saying it because my community does not have the same equal rights as other people in this world. We face discrimination, bullying, violence on a daily basis and that’s why we try to fight for acceptance.”
In the end, Jazz conceded that Ahmir’s mom will never approve of her or her relationship with her son.
She added that she’s not sure what this means for her and Ahmir’s relationship.
Following the premiere of the episode, Jazz took to Twitter to apologize to Ahmir for getting “such a negative edit”:
So don't judge Ahmir for some of the things he says and does!!! It’s unfair to assess someone you don't know. Maybe he was having a bad day or going through a rough time in his life. He has many mental health issues that he's open about, and he’s learning and growing too!
— Jazz Jennings (@JazzJennings__) March 6, 2019
She went on to say:
If someone has a different opinion and is not accepting, then that is their prerogative. We cannot instill our beliefs upon others. It is not our job to plead for acceptance. We must simply exist with love and be beautiful gifts to the world
this is what happened: Ahmir used to have beliefs and say things that aligned with the perspective of his mom. this is the case for many children. but he has learned and developed his own opinion, and is a part of the LGBTQIA+ community himself.
Jazz added that she won’t apologize for what she said during the phone call and Ahmir’s mom doesn’t have to either.