The theme of the January 2017 National Geographic is “gender revolution”, and they have chosen a 9-year-old transgender girl for cover girl. She is believed to be the very first transgender person featured on the cover of the long running publication.
As well as giving a spotlight to the ever important issue of transgender awareness and rights, the cover also features a powerful caption from the young Avery Jackson.
“The best part of being a girl,” it reads, “is, now I don’t have to pretend to be a boy.”
Avery began her transition very young indeed at just four years old, and her parents have been wonderfully supportive. Her mother wrote on Facebook: “We were really excited about this issue, thinking it would come out right as Hillary was about to be inaugurated. But positive trans stories are even more necessary now…”
However, there is a slight caveat to all this positivity – Avery is only featured on the cover of the subscriber edition of the issue. For the newstands, the January 2017 issue of National Geographic will have a different cover entirely.
It’s unclear why they made this decision, but the simplest answer is they probably were concerned about a drop off in sales of the newstand version with this cover. Hopefully in the future, magazines like the National Geographic won’t have to worry about featuring a trans or LGBT person on their cover affecting their sales.
But, there is still good news – the magazine will still feature trans youth inside the issue. While it’s a shame that Avery’s time in the spotlight will be limited to subscribers only, it’s still wonderful to see her featured on the cover of such a prestigious and long running magazine. Avery’s mother is quite correct, after all, the rights of LGBT people and transgender people in particular are more important than ever, so it’s vital that we don’t back down now and keep ourselves in the conversation.