Avery Jackson is the first transgender person to be on National Geographic's cover. Image: National Geographic.

Avery Jackson, a 9-year old transgender girl from Kansas City, appears on the cover of the first National Geographic issue next year. The 2017 January edition of the famous magazine will start a campaign dedicated to what they call “gender revolution.

This issue includes pieces such as ‘Making a man,’ ‘The Science of Gender,’ and ‘Girls at Risk,’ portraying not only the recent changes in Western societal structures regarding gender but also the remaining worldwide stigma posed by the female figure and status.

Jackson is the first transgender person to appear on the cover of NatGeo, and she is the leading face in a set of interviews to 80 9-year-olds from eight countries that talk about their experiences with gender norms and the influence they have in their lives.

NatGeo is taking the heat for the controversial cover

Sandy Goldberg, National Geographic Magazine editor.
Sandy Goldberg, National Geographic Magazine editor. Image: Career Contessa.

An Editor’s Note from executive Susan Goldberg stated Avery’s cover had drawn many responses from social media, from utter praise and tears of joy to uncontrollable fury and disgust.

These opinions, she writes, are a perfect example of the moral boundaries and forward-looking statements that are making waves all over the world.

Their choice of interviewing children also looks to showcase the thoughts of the next generation, which will be responsible for society’s future configuration.

The issue also looks into the scientifical explanations and current theories regarding gender, also including testimony from various communities whose gender roles significantly differ from the current status quo.

Though Avery’s appearance received mostly a thumbs up from the public, many people are complaining that for example, a Caucasian girl was the first option to lead the gender conversation.

natgeo mag 2017 january cover
NatGeo mag 2017 January cover. Image: National Geographic.

Others are complaining she is still too young to decide anything in regards to her sexuality (or to receive that kind of exposure) and that her inclusion (along with the other children’s statements) constitutes a form of veiled child abuse.

Children have something important to say about living as a transgender

Avery has been living as an open transgender girl from age five, and she has faced lots of discrimination already. The same goes for Nasreen Sheikh, from Mumbai in India, who wants to be a doctor when she grows up but is unable to do most things because she is a girl.

This issue serves as another wake-up call to the dangers entailed from being born a female, even in the 21st century. A girl from Kenya knows she will soon marry a much older man who will pay a dowry to her parents in exchange.

Another 9-year-old from India, a young boy, is sure he will receive pressure from older peers to engage in repeated sexual harassment very soon.

These kids represent the new generation of gender roles, whose education might prove critical in solving one of the society’s longstanding conflicts.

Source: National Geographic