Celebrity Entertaiment

Elton John to Host ‘Living Room’ Coronavirus Benefit Concert

Coming together. Elton John is set to host a benefit concert to pay tribute to medical professionals amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Fox Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America will feature performances by Alicia Keys, the Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw and more. In order to ensure the health and safety of those involved, the artists will perform live from their homes and film themselves with their personal cellphones, cameras and audio equipment.

Elton John to Host Star-Studded Coronavirus Benefit Concert with Alicia Keys Billie Eilish and Mariah Carey
Alicia Keys, Billie Eilish and Mariah Carey. Broadimage/Shutterstock; David Fisher/Shutterstock; Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

The hourlong special will be broadcast commercial-free on Fox Sunday, March 29, at 9 p.m. ET — the same time that the 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards had been set to air before being postponed due to the crisis. It will also stream on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide as well as via the iHeartRadio app.

The highly anticipated music event will “provide entertainment relief and support for Americans to help fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to celebrate the resilience and strength of the nation during this pandemic,” according to a press release.

Viewers and listeners are encouraged to donate to Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation, both of which have been helping victims and first responders around the clock in recent months.

Elton John to Host Star-Studded Coronavirus Benefit Concert
Elton John in concert at the Bismarck Civic Center in Bismarck, North Dakota on April 6, 2011. Shutterstock

The announcement was made on Wednesday, March 25, which is John’s 73rd birthday.

The first case of the novel coronavirus was reported in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization classified it as a pandemic earlier this month. More than 20,000 people worldwide have died from the virus, which has had major outbreaks in China, Italy, the United States, Spain, Germany, Iran and France. More than 60,000 cases have been reported in the U.S. alone, with over 800 deaths.

Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Idris Elba, Colton Underwood and Prince Charles are among the celebrities who have tested positive for COVID-19. Other stars, including Kylie Jenner and Ariana Grande, have used their platforms to urge fans to self-quarantine at home in order to help prevent the disease from spreading further.

Given the constantly evolving nature of COVID-19, Us Weekly wants our readers to have access to the most accurate resources. For the most up-to-date coronavirus information, guidance, and support, consult the CDCWHO, and information from local public health officials. If you’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms, call your primary care provider for medical advice.

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Celebrity Entertaiment

Why the ‘Hunger Games’ prequel book is so controversial

The “Hunger Games” prequel, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” has revealed its protagonist, and it’s sending the internet into a tizzy — because it’s none other than creepy President Snow.

Entertainment Weekly reported this news on Tuesday, writing, “But what if there was more to him than we knew? What if he could be — crazy as it may sound — a hero?”

In case you forget, since it’s been a while — the best-selling trilogy of books came out in 2008, 2009 and 2010, while the films came out between 2012 and 2015 — the smash-hit series is set in a dystopian America in which teen “tributes” from 12 districts must battle to the death in a televised fight. More than 65 million copies of the books have sold in the US alone, and the movies made Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”), 29, a household name in the role of Katniss.

President Snow — played by a sneering Donald Sutherland, 84, in the movies — is an evil dictator who threatened to murder Katniss’ family if she didn’t stay in line. He also forced Finnick (played by Sam Claflin, 33, in the movies) to be a prostitute, and had Peeta (Josh Hutcherson, 27) tortured until he was a hollow shell of his former self.

Needless to say, a villain origin story for President Snow was a controversial choice.

“Characters from the Hunger Games I’d rather read a prequel about over President Snow,” wrote one fan on Twitter, then proceeding to list almost every other character in the hit franchise, including Haymitch, Finnick, Cinna, Johanna and even minor animal characters such as “a turkey Gale shot.” The post has garnered more than 28,000 likes.

“I couldn’t be more disappointed by the next HUNGER GAMES being about f–king President Snow and trying to paint him as a ‘misunderstood hero’ are you kidding me,” wrote another fan, garnering over 2,500 likes, and adding, “the very last thing i’m interested in is humanizing a fascist dictator because he has a ~tragic past~.”

These fans are not wrong: This is truly a baffling choice. President Snow was a one-note villain, practically the personification of an evil mustache-twirl. The series is jam-packed with more intriguing side characters, and he’s perhaps the flattest one.

So not only is this out of sync with fans’ interests in-world, but it’s also a failure on a global level. The real world has changed in the last decade since the books came out, and fans appear to be responding to that. The conversations around fiction have also changed. A story centering on an evil man wouldn’t have seemed novel even in the mid-2000s. But after we’ve collectively grown fatigued with the likes of vicious Ramsay Bolton in “Game of Thrones” and methamphetamine master Walter White in “Breaking Bad” and “Star Wars” villain Kylo Ren and the horrifying “Joker,” this seems both painfully trite and tone-deaf.

“Hunger Games” author Suzanne Collins has famously avoided having a social-media presence, and this choice shows the dark side of that. She clearly isn’t reading the room.

“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” will be released May 19, 2020. While a movie adaptation has not been officially announced, Lionsgate is reportedly in talks for that.

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Celebrity Entertaiment

Gwyneth Paltrow makes everyone cry in Netflix’s ‘The Goop Lab’

Gwyneth Paltrow is pouring blood, sweat and tears into her latest act.

The patron saint of rich lady things tries everything from “vampire” blood facials to harrowing cleanses — plus, some good old-fashioned pushups — in the upcoming Netflix series “The Goop Lab,” which premieres on Jan. 24. And you better hold onto your jade egg. For GP, there’s truly never enough questionable wellness practices to surprise us with, now on a platform that costs far less than her $4,500 health summits.

Each of the six 30-minute episodes begin with a disclaimer: “The following series is designed to entertain and inform — not provide medical advice. You should always consult your doctor when it comes to your personal health, or before you start any treatment.”

Smartly, Paltrow, whose chronological age is 47 but whose biological age is 42.5, does a lot of listening, leaving the expertise to the doctors, researchers and specialists she invites on the show. But she and her colleagues do their darndest to take these alternative treatments seriously, by trying it out themselves, speaking to experts in the field and highlighting case studies who have been “cured” by the treatments hawked in each infomercial-like episode — oh, and by not talking about any of the downsides of the treatments involved.

Buckle up for lots of bawling, pastel boiler suits and dubious health claims. Spoiler alert: Here are our Goopiest takeaways from the show.

The secret to female pleasure is a ‘genital show and tell’

A scene from "The Goop Lab," episode 3, "The Pleasure is Ours."
A scene from “The Goop Lab,” Episode 3, “The Pleasure Is Ours.”Netflix

By the end of the episode on female orgasms, GP is a regular vulva virtuoso. She brings in 90-year-old sex coach Betty Dodson, whose major piece of advice for women in search of an orgasm is to get naked with a bunch of gal pals and have a look-see. She calls it “genital show and tell.”

Paltrow is intrigued, but most of the episode focuses on the journey of one of her staffers who pays a visit to Dodson’s New York offices.

Dodson convinces Paltrow that it would be “revolutionary” to show normal vulvas (Paltrow is scolded by Dodson early on for calling them vaginas) on the show and to film what a non-porny female orgasm really looks like.

The Goop abides.

We should all trip out on ‘shrooms with our co-workers

The first episode discusses using psychedelics for therapy, a buzzy topic that, sure, deserves some discourse. When the Goop staffers head to Jamaica for a mushroom experience, things pretty much go as you’d expect: uncontrolled laughter, uncontrolled sobbing, someone needing to be held like a baby, etc. When they come to their senses and hit the beach, they decide that all colleagues should really have the opportunity to get spun with each other. That water cooler won’t know what hit it, amiright?

Back at the office, a sprawling Santa Monica, California, compound filled with wholesome snacks and cotton candy hues, Paltrow grills her assistant Kevin on his experience in Jamaica with three other co-workers. Is nothing sacred? Leave the poor man alone, Gwyneth.

You don’t need to starve yourself to age backwards

Gwyneth gets a vampire facial.
Gwyneth gets a vampire facial.Netflix

GP tries Valter Longo’s “fast-mimicking diet,” a meal plan one pays $300 for to feel as though they’re starving. It’s meant to reverse your “biological age,” a term her guest scientist, a Yale pathologist, uses to describe the healthiness of one’s cells, as opposed to their chronological age. The expert, Morgan Levine, says it’s a better indication of your overall wellness and life expectancy.

By the end of the five-day cleanse, Paltrow looks and feels like death. “I feel like I might fall down,” she tells the camera. The good news for her is, blood tests reveal her biological age is 1.25 years younger than before she tried the diet — the “vampire” facial she got in this episode helped her look the part. But the bad news for her is that she probably didn’t need to starve herself to go back in time: Her accomplice Elise tries a simple pescatarian diet and ends up, biologically, one year younger than before she started her diet. So unless an extra three months of youthful life matters to you, there’s really no reason to join Goop in an expensive and torturous cleanse.

Gwyneth is maybe not healthy

In that same episode on diets, Paltrow reveals, “I basically have been running off no sleep, coffee and alcohol for two years. I think my adrenals are going to explode.” Makes one wonder, is Gwyneth OK? Nevertheless, in an episode focused on Wim “The Iceman” Hof’s breathing techniques, it’s revealed that she can do nearly 20 pushups in a row — while fasting, naturally. It’s unclear how she’s been able to function this well for this long.

Somebody call this woman an ambulance

In an episode on energy healing, Paltrow brings into the office her longtime “body healer,” John Amaral, who claims to change the frequency of the body’s vibrations to heal emotional and physical ailments. Nothing too surprising here. But, when the staff gets together for a session with Amaral, one woman comes to him complaining of “chest pain and tightness.” Oh dear. She lays on the table “without much movement,” as the others observe, and “falls into a deep meditative state,” she says. Later that night, she throws up for three hours straight. Listen, I’m no doctor — but neither is Amaral.

Wellness makes you cry

In every episode, with every treatment, Goopies inexplicably cry. Jumping into cold water? Tears. Sustaining a deep, erotic gaze into a co-worker’s eye for a solid five minutes? Tears! Wigging out on psychedelics? Sobs. Having an energy healer wave his hand over your back? Big, ol’ weepy tears. By the end of the series, the staff of Goop has supposedly never been healthier. But they’ve also perhaps never been sadder.

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Celebrity Entertaiment

Planet Earth is a facing a ‘disaster’

The beloved voice behind nature documentaries such as “Planet Earth” says humanity has reached a “moment of crisis.”

In a trailer for his new documentary, “David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet,” the legendary broadcaster and environmentalist accused humans of “overrun[ning] the planet,” warning that all life on Earth now faces impending “disaster.”

“The living world is a unique and spectacular marvel, yet the way we humans live on Earth is sending it into a decline,” he said during the teaser. The film, produced by Silverback Films and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), premieres April 16 in the UK, Netherlands, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, and later in Australia and New Zealand.

“Human beings have overrun the world. We’re replacing the wild with the tame,” he continued, adding that we must “work with nature rather than against it.”

In an interview about the film, Attenborough told the BBC, “We have been putting things off year after year. We have been raising targets and saying: ‘Oh well, if we do it within the next 20 years.’ The moment of crisis has come. We can no longer prevaricate.”

During the conversation, he made an appeal to global leaders to heed the scientific consensus that climate change will be catastrophic if we continue to avoid drastic and “deliberate” measures to hamper global warming.

“We have to change, not by appeals to different kinds of optimism but to deliberate, compelling life-or-death decisions,” he said. “We have to realize that this is not playing games.”

Attenborough, 92, added that he is hopeful that public opinion will continue to shift in favor of taking action, adding that every year we fail to make major changes, the crisis becomes “more and more difficult” to mitigate.

“This is not just having nice little debates and arguments and then coming away with a compromise,” he said. “This is an urgent problem that has to be solved.”

The nature historian’s plea comes after months of horrific bushfires sweeping through Australia, which have wiped-out at least a billion animals and 1.5 million acres of land.

Some Australian lawmakers have blamed inaction on climate change for the tragedy.

“One of the key drivers of fire intensity, fire spread rates and fire area is temperature,” said Mark Howden, director of the Climate Change Institute at Australian National University. “And in Australia, we’ve just experienced record high temperatures.”

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Celebrity Entertaiment

Disney appears to be cracking down on Baby Yoda knockoffs

First there were not enough Baby Yoda dolls and now it seems there are too many — at least for Disney’s liking.

The entertainment giant, which owns the rights to all things “Star Wars,” is cracking down on online retailer Etsy for capitalizing on the insanely popular character from its new Star Wars-inspired series, “The Mandalorian,” according to a new report.

Disney has demanded that Etsy remove all items depicting the adorable, green, alien-like creature whose character’s name is officially “The Child,” but who is popularly known as Baby Yoda, according to tech web site The Verge.

Etsy, a popular marketplace for artists selling hand-crafted goods, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but directed The Verge to its intellectual property policy, which states: “Etsy strives to respond quickly when we receive proper notice of intellectual property infringement by removing or disabling access to the allegedly infringing material.”

When “The Mandalorian” was first released on Disney’s streaming service Disney+ last year, Baby Yoda became an instant pop culture sensation— out-trending political candidates on Twitter and becoming fodder for late-night talk show hosts.

But except for a smattering of mugs, t-shirts and other easy-to-produce tchotchkes, there was a dearth of Baby Yoda products available. Disney explained at the time that it wanted to avoid revealing plot details by designing and manufacturing toys in advance of the show.

Several Etsy sellers told The Verge their listings for items depicting the rabbit-eared, doe-eyed character were removed by Etsy after the online marketplace received a complaint from Disney.

But a search on Etsy Friday revealed a crocheted Baby Yoda doll by Cassie’s Crochet for $260; a “hand painted” Baby Yoda doll with handmade clothing by Nerdprint Crafts for $130; and a tiny 3D-printed model for $18 by HappyHappyHappyCo.

Disney has also finally launched its own Baby Yoda products, including a $24, 11-inch doll that is available for pre-order now. “This irresistible infant [known as The Child] is inspired by Star Wars: The Mandalorian now streaming on Disney+. May the hugs be with you!” Disney writes on its web site, which is also selling Baby Yoda socks for $16.99, a sweatshirt for $34.95 and t-shirts for $24.95.

Disney did not immediately respond for comment.

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Celebrity Entertaiment

Man hacks Disney’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ with marriage proposal

A romantic “prince” pulled off one Disney fan’s ultimate surprise marriage proposal.

It was more than just a typical date night when Lee Loechler of Boston brought his girlfriend, Sthuthi David, to the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, Mass., on Dec. 30. He was going to pop the big question — a cinematic event six months in the making.

The filmmaker, who has worked on commercials with John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, had hatched a plan to illustrate himself and his soon-to-be fiancée into Disney’s classic “Sleeping Beauty.”

He completed the elaborate proposal in cahoots with the movie theater — and filmed the final product to share on social media. The now-viral video has racked up more than 2.5 million views since it was uploaded Thursday on YouTube.

Loechler waited anxiously throughout the entire film before his big bit. At the end of the story, Prince Phillip kisses Aurora to wake up the sleeping princess — but in Loechler’s version, an animation of himself and David replaced the two main characters.

In the video, David seems visibly confused when she realizes the cartoons suddenly look very different — with darker complexions and hair. On the big screen, a now-smirking Prince Lee opens an engagement ring box — a departure from the fairytale’s storyline — then appears to toss it out toward the audience.

At the front of the theater, Loechler stands and pretends to catch the box. Then he turns to David and says: “It’s not every day you get to propose to your high school sweetheart — so I’m gonna take my time.”

The animated version of himself then raises his wrist as if to check the time, goading the real Loechler to propose: “Do you mind?,” he says to the screen. “This is kind of a big moment.”

Loechler turns back to David. “I love you with my whole heart, including all of its ventricles, atriums, valves,” he says, adding, “She’s a cardiologist,” to those in the theater who didn’t get the pun.

“Will you live happily ever after with me?” Loechler finally asks a beaming David, who says yes.

“I thought there was something wrong with the movie,” she laughs.

Just before the credits roll, a title card appears on the screen: “Alt 2 Sthuthi Says No.” The alternative take features Grumpy the Dwarf from “Snow White” weeping as Gary Jules’ “Mad World” plays in the background.

He also shared the story on Instagram.

“For the past six months I’ve been working with @kaylacoombs to animate @stutzd4 and myself into her favorite movie, ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ ” he posted on Jan. 9. “The only thing better than seeing the smartest person I know completely dumbfounded was knowing we’d get to live happily ever after together.”

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Celebrity Entertaiment

Suzanne Somers’ secret to twice-daily sex: What is PT-141?

They’re taking their shots at love.

Suzanne Somers, 73, made headlines last fall when she dished that she and her 83-year-old husband use an injection of PT-141 to fuel their twice-daily sex habit.

“PT-141 is an injection that works on the neurons in the brain to stimulate sexual desire and erections,” says Neil Paulvin, a functional medicine specialist in Manhattan. “It’s become really popular over the last year.”

The treatment was approved by the Food and Drug Administration under the brand name Vyleesi this past summer to increase sexual desire in premenopausal women, but the love drug has been prescribed to men and women for some time. It’s derived from peptides and most commonly administered as a shot — Paulvin also prescribes it in sucking candy form for the injection averse.

“It stimulates the pleasure part of the brain,” he says, unlike Viagra, which works on the circulatory system, sending blood to the penis. “I’ve had patients that couldn’t get an erection for years and tried other treatments, but this worked for them.”

Paulvin says for men, the shot acts as a one-and-done, but for women, one dose can last the whole day. The price ranges from $60 to $100, Paulvin says, which is enough for a 30-day supply or 10 to 20 hard candies.

Still, stimulation in the form of foreplay or touching is needed in order for the shot to work, he says.

“People tell me they really love it,” Paulvin says. “But we don’t recommend using it more than five times per week.”

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Breaking New

20 cats found living in Virginia Beach storage facility in need of new homes

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Twenty cats were found living in a Virginia Beach storage facility.

Now, the city’s adoption center is hoping to find them all new forever homes.

“They are becoming more confident,” Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center Supervisor Jessica Wilde explained.

Cats lying around in their colony cage Wednesday are just some of 20 brought into the center Monday.

That confidence building as they get adjusted to their new, temporary home.

“Yesterday they were all a little bit scared and overwhelmed. These cats were loved cats; they were well-cared for, and sometimes you just end up in a situation where it is beyond your ability,” Wilde explained.

It’s a situation that ended with Virginia Beach Animal Control finding all 20 cats living in a storage unit.

“There is a little bit of a shock factor when you have so many cats,” she detailed.

Management at the adoption center told News 3 the cats ended up in the storage facility after their owner lost her home.

They said the owner was keeping them there.

Related: Volunteers fighting to save nearly two dozen stray cats living in Newport News park 

“It was a pretty sad situation. Unfortunately, the owner had lost her home and needed to relinquish them to us,” Widle mentioned.

Staff here said they all have been vetted and are ready to be adopted out.

“We offer them a lot of hidey boxes so they have the chance to decompress a little bit. We don’t want to force them into being out and about all the time,” Wilde described.

The cats vary in age, size and color.

We did reached out to Animal Control to see if the owner was living with cats and how she lost the home.

They said the case is still under investigation.

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Breaking New

Fort Smith Mobile Home Community Tenants Angry Over Living Conditions | Fort Smith/Fayetteville News

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — If you drive by the Cavanaugh Mound Estates located near Jenny Lind and Cavanaugh Rd. you might not notice anything wrong, but some living there tell 5NEWS a closer look and smell reveal an avalanche of problems.

Tenants say in addition to the raw sewage, overgrown trees threaten people’s safety and drainage issues cause standing water whenever there’s heavy rainfall.

“I have an 18-month-old baby. When she gets old enough to walk out here I don’t want her walking through that,” said tenant John Heckman.

Sewage drains are visible when they should be below the frost line and water lines are exposed when it needs to be covered by an insulated box to prevent freezing.

One young family says after they moved in their drains became clogged and junk started coming up through the bathtub and sink.

“My kids shouldn’t have to live in feces or take a bath in something that has been covered in feces for weeks and even though we bleached it, it’s still gross,” said Lauren Adamson.

Collective Capital Partners LLC. took over management of the property about a year ago.

Residents were told that the cost of water had gone up and that they would have to pay an additional fee.

Daniel Potter refused to pay the extra money and says he was penalized.

“Josh Harmon took the money from the rent to pay for this water maintenance sewer deal so, he could charge me a $25 late fee,” said Potter.

The city has been contacted and tenants say someone has been out to inspect the property and are hopeful something will be done to help.

5NEWS reached out to Collective Capital Partners but they did not respond to a request for an on-camera interview or statement.

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Celebrity Entertaiment

Jazz Jennings shows off gender confirmation surgery scarss

Transgender activist and reality star Jazz Jennings says she is “proud” to show off scars from her 2018 gender confirmation surgery and post-procedure complications.

In an Instagram post on New Year’s Eve, the 19-year-old posed for two photos wearing a deep crimson one-piece bathing suit that revealed wide scars on her upper thighs, which she calls “my battle wounds because they signify the strength and perseverance it took to finally complete my transition,” without providing more details, though one of her doctors has said she needed more skin grafts. In October 2018, she told ABC News that while her “life wasn’t in danger,” the complication was an “unfortunate” setback and “was just all part of the journey. The good thing though is that it was only cosmetic and external so it wasn’t too dramatic.”

Jazz, who since 2015 has chronicled her transition in the TLC series “I Am Jazz,” previously posted that 2018 was a “rough year” for her because of “a major complication with my gender confirmation surgery.”

Jazz’s mother, Jeanette, responded to her most recent post with praise in the comments. “My sweet girl, you are the strongest and bravest of all the souls I’ve even known and I’m blessed to be your mom,” she wrote.

“Your scars are just as beautiful as you the rest of you. I love you with all that I am. You make me proud everyday,” she continued, adding three hearts to the end of her words. The younger Jennings’ big brother, Sander, also sent love, saying, “Thank you for continuing to inspire me!” and “You’re the strongest person I know.”

And Peppermint, who in 2018 was the first transgender person to originate a starring Broadway role in the Go-Go’s musical “Head Over Heels,” saluted Jazz in the comments, saying, “Work beauty! Body!”

Jazz Jennings
Jazz JenningsSteve Mack/Everett Collection

When Jazz went through her initial surgery, doctors had to use a new technique because she started using hormones at such a young age, so she hadn’t developed enough tissue to construct a vagina.

“They’re using the tissue I have, the peritoneum, and also, they may take a skin graft as well. I say it’s going to be like a patchwork vagina, Franken-vagina,” she told ABC News. “So yeah, as long as it’s functional, that’s all that matters.”

She added that she wanted “to look somewhat pretty, just ’cause it’s my body.”

Jazz was assigned a male gender at birth but felt she was a girl at age 2 and was diagnosed with gender dysphoria at 5. With her parents’ approval, she started using hormone blockers when she was 11, according to ABC News, and started taking estrogen when she was in high school.

“I have no regrets because it allowed me to prevent myself from going through male puberty,” Jazz said of taking the female hormone. “I feel like that’s why my dysphoria hasn’t been so bad is because I look in the mirror, and I see the girl that I am on the inside. But not every transgender person has the opportunity to do that.”

In an episode of “I Am Jazz” early last year, she thanked her family for their lifelong support.

“Having my whole family with me throughout this entire journey has been so important,” she said. “From the beginning, they have just provided me with unconditional love and support, and the fact that they’re here on this day just signifies that we’ve come so, so far since the beginning of this journey. This is really the final step, this is the final transition, and I’m so glad that I have them by my side.”

Jazz, who has since published a memoir, “Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen,” had planned to start studying at Harvard last fall but announced in October that she put those plans on hold to “take a break” and focus on “self-care and getting prepared to start this exciting next chapter in my life.”

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