I Am Jazz star Jazz Jennings posted her first photo after gender reassignment surgery this week, thanking fans for their love and support.
"I’m doing great, thanks for all of the love and support," the 17-year-old Jennings wrote on Thursday, alongside a smiling selfie from her hospital bed.
Jennings announced earlier this month that she was undergoing an experimental reassignment surgery.
"Because I started the blockers so early, I never went through puberty," Jennings told her fans on her YouTube channel. "I got this implant in my arm… it blocks testosterone in my body so I don’t develop as a male and get a beard, mustache and deep voice. That’s why I’m able to be so feminine. I didn’t have growth in that region."
Jennings explained that her doctors will need to perform a "special procedure" to construct a vagina, using extracts from her peritoneal lining, a thin membrane surrounding the stomach.
"They take that out through my belly button. They use that and harvest that and use it to create the vaginal canal. It looks like real vagina tissue and it feels like vagina tissue. It allows them to make a bigger canal," Jennings continued.
She said the procedure is so rarely performed that "something could go wrong." However, based on the photo she shared this week, it looks like everything went well.
Jennings said the surgery was filmed for future episodes of I Am Jazz. Since season four ended in February, it could be anywhere between eight months to a year before the new episodes air.
Jennings, who uses Jennings as a pseudonym, is a trans activist. She gained national attention when she was only six years old and was diagnosed with gender identity disorder when she was five. Her TLC series debuted in July 2015.
After sharing the photo from her hospital bed this week, Jennings was once again targeted by Derick Dillard, who was fired from the Duggar family-starring Counting On for his repeated transphobic remarks about her. "This kind of thinking should not be encouraged by media. A system that allows this kind of child abuse is clearly broken," Dillard wrote.
In November, Jennings took the high road, tweeting, "In the face of constant ignorance and hatred I prefer to disregard negative opinions and continue moving forward with love."0comments
“I just want to be as open as I can. It will show other people that being transgender … is OK, it’s not something negative at all," Jennings told ABC News in 2015. "It’s something that I embrace, that my family embraces, and we just live our life, we face the challenges, we conquer them and we move on.”
Photo credit: Twitter/Jazz Jennings