May 15, 2016
Jazz Jennings Vs. Michelle Duggar: TLC And The Battle Over Transgender Bathroom Access

Jazz Jennings, one of the most famous transgender teens in the world, will be returning to TV at a time when the fight for transgender rights are dividing the country.

The war over whether transgender men and women should be forced to use bathrooms that align with the sexes on their birth certificates rages on, and the star of TLC's I Am Jazz recently showed her support for President Barack Obama's directive instructing schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. It looks like TLC viewers may get to watch Jazz Jennings fight against a type of discrimination that another TLC star strongly supported — Michelle Duggar fired one of the first shots in the battle over bathroom laws, and now many politicians have adopted her scare tactic of equating transgender women to child molesters.

As Channel Guide magazine reports, Jazz Jennings weighed in on the Obama administration's directive by voicing her support in an enthusiastic Instagram video. Jazz applauds Barack Obama for making progress, and she talks about how uncomfortable she felt when she was forced to use the nurse's restroom in elementary school.

During an interview with MTV News, Jazz Jennings elaborated on the negative effects of not being allowed to use the girls' restroom when she was in kindergarten.

"I had to use the nurse's restroom, where kids were often sick and bleeding and vomiting. It was disgusting. And I didn't want to use that nurse's restroom, so I would hold it in — and I would have accidents," Jazz said. "It was terrible. I actually snuck into the girls' restroom, but I got in trouble with the school librarian. I just didn't understand why they wouldn't let me pee in peace!"

While Jazz Jennings is using her TLC celebrity to spread a positive message of acceptance and equality, Michelle Duggar once used her 19 Kids and Counting fame to promote bigotry and discrimination. As the Washington Post reports, Duggar fought against a 2014 Fayetteville, Arkansas LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance by lending her voice to a robocall. In the recorded message, Michelle Duggar equated transgender women to child molesters.

"The Fayetteville City Council is voting on an ordinance this Tuesday night that would allow men – yes I said men – to use women's and girls' restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas that are designated for females only," Duggar said.

"I don't believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls."
As Salon reports, Michelle Duggar was later accused of being a hypocrite when it was discovered that she and her husband did not take appropriate actions to stop the incestuous child molestation going on under their own roof — Michelle denigrated transgender women by comparing them to child molesters while knowing that her own son, Josh Duggar, was an actual child molester. However, her rhetoric gained traction with conservatives. As reported by the Hill, Ted Cruz is one of the many politicians who later repeated Duggar's sexual predator comparison.

Michelle Duggar can take comfort in knowing that her kids won't be effected by Barack Obama's directive that transgender students should be allowed to use the bathrooms of their choice — the Duggar children are home-schooled, so they've been using unisex bathrooms for years. Perhaps this is why Jinger and Jana Duggar were brave enough to use an outdoor men's restroom during a family trip.

Even though so-called "bathroom bills" continue to be a hot topic these days, Michelle Duggar is no longer speaking out about them. This may be because she and her family members are aware that Jazz Jennings has a show on TLC. As the Inquisitr previously reported, there are a few hints that TLC is finally ready to move on from the Duggars, and upsetting one of the network's other big stars by making bigoted comments about her gender identity could put the final nail in the family's coffin.

The second season of TLC's I Am Jazz will premiere on June 8, a little over a month after the season finale of Jill & Jessa: Counting On. According to Us Weekly, one of the topics Jazz Jennings will tackle is the anger and hatred she has to deal with simply for being transgender.

"I want people to understand, the hate is real," Jazz says in a promo for the show. She's also confronted by people who call her "sick" and "a freak."

Do you think there's room for Jazz Jennings and the Duggars on TLC, or would the Duggar family's continued presence on the network be a slap in the face to Jazz and her supporters?

[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]