Transgender television star and LGBT activist Jazz Jennings posted a video on Instagram Friday thanking the Obama administration for “taking a stance and supporting transgender youth in schools all across the nation.”
“Growing up, I was not allowed to use the girl’s bathroom for five years,” Jennings said. “I had to use the nurses bathroom. I was reminded that I was different every single day.”
The 15-year-old star of the unscripted TLC series I Am Jazz was reacting to the Obama administration’s order mandating that America’s 100,000 public schools must allow children of both sexes to use the bathroom or locker room of their “gender identity.” Critics say there is no legal standing behind the order, but the Obama administration has threatened to sue or cut funding if states refuse to comply with guidelines that will impact roughly 55 million children.
“This is a huge step in the right direction,” Jennings proclaimed, adding: “I didn’t understand why this discrimination was taking place. And now I can use the bathroom of my preferred gender. And so can transgender kids all across the country.”
Jennings was born male and came out as transgender at age five, according to Us magazine. At just six years old, Jennings’ story about the struggles of being a transgender youth were the subject of a controversial 20/20 special.
“A phase is called a phase because it is just that. It ends. And this is not ending. This is just getting stronger,” Renée Jennings told ABC News’ Barbara Walters.
Jennings is also set to releases a memoir, Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen, through Random House on June 15.
The reality TV star made headlines last week by using a women’s bathroom at Target, supporting the retail giant’s recent decision to allow people to use the restroom or dressing room that matches their gender identity.
“Peeing in peace!,” Jennings wrote about Target. “Thank you so much Target for allowing all people to use the bathroom of their choice! #istandwithtarget.”
“I just want to applaud you for making a difference and helping people like myself,” Jennings said in a personal thank you to the Obama administration.