"The ban made me feel excluded, had no merit and negatively affected me and my family," the reality star and activist tweeted, urging her followers to speak up about the issue

By Glenn Garner
March 31, 2021 04:59 PM
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Jazz Jennings
Jazz Jennings
| Credit: John Lamparski/Getty

Jazz Jennings is speaking out for her community.

The trailblazing star of TLC's reality series I Am Jazz shared a clip from the show's archives on Twitter as she denounced a raft of "discriminatory" legislation meant to limit transgender people from playing on sports teams that align with their gender.

"When I was 8 years old, I was banned from my playing girls soccer for over two years. The ban made me feel excluded, had no merit and negatively affected me and my family," the 20-year-old activist and author tweeted on Monday.

She also shared a clip from a 2015 episode of I Am Jazz in which her father tearfully read a letter on the soccer field, pleading with the league to let her play.

"Your decision has taken away a piece of her heart and her parents'," he read from his phone. "Please let her play girls travel soccer presently, or let me know what reasonable steps we must take for you to change your position."

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Credit: Courtesy TLC

Jennings noted in the captions with the 2015 clip that more than two years later, a trans inclusive policy was created.

"People argue that transgender woman [sic] have competitive advantages," she wrote. "This is not true. My personal experiences and many statistics prove this. Today in 30+ states, including Florida, they are trying to ban transgender people in sports. These bills are discriminatory, increase exclusion, and have no merit."

While critics of including transgender athletes argue they have unfair physical advantages, doctors and scientists say that is an oversimplification not supported by the facts.

Jennings' mother, Jeanette, tweeted that Jazz was ultimately allowed to practice with the team, but she was forced to sit on the sidelines during games.

"No kid should ever be excluded from playing sports just for being themselves," Jeanette wrote on Twitter last week. "Let kids play!"

Jazz Jennings
Lindsey Benoit O'Connell for Thrive Global
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TLC

Along with tweet opposing the new bills, Jazz pointed her followers to a list of states where similar legislation is headed to the floor and information on how to reach out to those states' legislators.

Wednesday marked the Transgender Day of Visibility, a day of awareness and celebration for the transgender and gender-nonconforming communities.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, there are 192 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration across the country, and a record 93 of those directly target transgender people.

Earlier this week, the YouTuber's brother Sander Jennings, 23, took aim at an Arkansas bill banning gender-affirming healthcare for trans kids. Jazz reposted the video on Tuesday, writing, "This is not okay! Gender-affirming care saved my life and is so important to transgender individuals."

RELATED VIDEO: Jazz Jennings Undergoes Final Gender Confirmation Procedure in I Am Jazz Season 6 Teaser

Jazz shared her excitement with PEOPLE in April 2018, ahead of her own gender confirmation surgery.

"It hasn't fully hit me yet that it's happening," she said at the time. "I've been wanting this all my life."