Jazz Jennings and Evie Macdonald: trans child celebrities, transnormativity, and childhood ‘innocence’

Joanna McIntyre, Damien W. Riggs, Clare Bartholomaeus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Since the turn of the century, mainstream media representations of trans people have significantly increased, and trans celebrities have been a determining force in this cultural movement. Media interest in trans people’s lives has expanded to encompass trans children, and the trans child celebrity has become a relatively new recruit in the realm of stardom. Nevertheless, little scholarly work has attended to their specificities. Addressing this lacuna, this article examines the particularities and impacts of contemporary trans child celebrities, taking two celebrity case studies as its focus: North American trans celebrity Jazz Jennings, star of the long-running reality television programme I am Jazz; and Australian trans celebrity Evie MacDonald, who plays the central character in the Australian trans-themed children’s television series First Day. This article examines intersections of transnormativity, gender norms, and discourses of ‘childhood innocence’ as they manifest in media representations of Jennings and MacDonald. We argue that there is a problematic tendency for mainstream media to present these trans child celebrities in transnormative frames; nevertheless, evident in these representations is the potential for broader shifts from transnormative to transformative approaches to representing trans child celebrities, and therefore to how they shape public discourse regarding trans people’s lives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-226
Number of pages13
JournalCelebrity Studies
Issue number2
Early online date8 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Evie MacDonald
  • First Day
  • I am Jazz
  • Jazz Jennings
  • Transgender celebrity


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