As far as buzzy cover models go, National Geographic doesn't have a lot of them. Its January 2017 "gender issues" issue proves an exception. Above a quote reading, "The best thing about being a girl is, now I don't have to pretend to be a boy," sits Avery Jackson. She's a 9-year-old from Kansas City, and she's transgender. The choice to put her there is being met with boos and applause. The best reading on the subject:
- Straight from the horse's mouth, National Geographic editor-in-chief Susan Goldberg shares one tweet giving the mag "kudos" and another stating it's "trying to brainwash young people into thinking this kind of degeneracy is normal." Writes Goldberg, "These comments are a small part of the profound discussion going on right now about gender." As for Avery, "We especially loved [her] portrait ... strong and proud."
- USA Today explains why the cover is historic, and speaks with both Avery and her mother, Debi Jackson, who said her happy 2-year-old boy became "sullen and depressed" by age four.
- The Washington Post flags a February 2014 article featuring Avery in the Kansas City Star (she's referred to as AJ in it). In the piece, a psychologist recounts asking Avery, "Your parents say 'my son' and 'him.' How does that make you feel?" The reply: "I'm really a she, 'cause I'm a girl. I'm a daughter."
- ATTN notes Avery and her parents have been "outspoken advocates for trans issues," and directs readers to examples, including a New York Times article and YouTube video diary.
- Among those who aren't fans: the American Family Association, which the Christian Post reports called the magazine's move "shaking a fist at God."
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