Dating is tricky for any 22-year-old, and Jazz Jennings is no exception.
Ahead of the new season of I Am Jazz, premiering Tuesday on TLC, the transgender rights activist is telling PEOPLE how she has been pushing herself to explore her sexuality lately.
“Dating is really, really hard,” acknowledges Jennings. “But in this season, you’ll see me kind of stepping outside of my comfort zone and be like, ‘OK, I’m ready to find love.'”
She continues, “I downloaded dating apps, which mom wasn’t really fond of. So you’ll see a little bit of that, our relationship with that. I definitely explore my sexuality. I definitely date people this season and there’s going to be a lot of that.”
In fact, in the season preview trailer, the Harvard student reveals that she’s going on her first date in four years.
“One of the biggest storylines is my love life, and where I’m going with that, and do I, or do I not find love?” Jennings says of the new season.
“All those questions will be answered,” she adds.
And, as if simply putting herself out there as a young adult isn’t difficult enough, Jennings must also contend with the realities of dating as a transgender person.
“I wish people understood that dating as a trans person is really hard because transgender people are immediately judged and ostracized for who they are,” she says.
Jennings explains that she wishes people could be more “empathetic, and accepting, and loving” when it comes to understanding the trans dating experience. Being a transgender woman doesn’t solely define her — it’s only one part of a much more nuanced identity.
“I wish people could be like, ‘You know what? I don’t care that you’re transgender. You’re just a woman to me. You’re beautiful. And I see that in you,'” she says of the “litmus test” her potential partners must pass. “And, yeah, one of the people that I date on the show, they express that, that they accept me for being a woman.”
And in addition to her emotional journey in the new season, Jennings explores another ritual of womanhood — one that’s more skin-deep.
She goes her first-ever bikini wax, which she deems a “momentous” occasion for her “new vagine.”
Like so many women before her, Jennings braces as her aesthetician applies the hot liquid, saying, “I can feel the wax! I can feel it!” Not long after, she’s officially date-ready.
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I Am Jazz season 8 premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on TLC.