National Geographic aims to “explore our evolving understandings and definitions of gender," which is why activist Avery Jackson is featured on the cover of the January 2017 edition.
2017 is already predicted to be a year of great change. That’s because not only will Donald Trump be sworn in as the United States’ next president, highly-respected publication National Geographic will be featuring a 9-year-old girl on its cover to “explore our evolving understandings and definitions of gender.”
That’s right, the new year’s first edition of National Geographic will feature Avery Jackson, who has been diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria. According to Fusion, the world was clued in on the historic cover after the young girl’s parents proudly shared the cover on Twitter.
— Debi Jackson (@transgirl_mom) December 14, 2016
Susan Goldberg, editor in chief of National Geographic, relays that an accompanying documentary dedicated to examining gender identification and discrimination around the world will soon be released, as well. In an interview with NBC, she said:
“National Geographic is almost 103 years old, and we have been covering cultures, societies and social issues for all of those years. It struck us, listening to the national conversation, that gender was at the center of so many of these issues in the news.”
“We wanted to look at how traditional gender roles play out all over the world, but also look into gender as a spectrum. There’s lots of coverage on celebrities, but there wasn’t an understanding on real people and the issues we face every day in classrooms or workplaces in regards to gender,” Goldberg added.
The new year’s edition will be special because it features over 100 children and teens who shared their thoughts on society’s social constructs. Expresses Goldberg:
“Youths are articulate and smart and key observers, and they don’t have a social veil. They’ll tell you what they think, and that is a true reflection of how societies really are. It’s harder to get more candid responses out of adults. We wanted to understand how gender plays out in society, and what are the limits, or lack of limits, they think they have because of their gender.”
Hopefully, the publication will help to raise awareness about the importance of accepting those who identify as LGBTQ+. After all, studies have found that transgender people who had experienced family rejection were far more likely to have attempted suicide, whereas transgender people whose parents supported their new identity were significantly less likely to seriously consider taking their own lives.
The latter is the case with Avery Jackson, whose parents overcame their initial shock to love and support their daughter’s transition. In 2014, Tim Jackson (Avery’s dad) opened up about how he and his wife came to discover what matters most.
“The one thing that I impart upon my daughter is very simple: Love yourself and show love to others. That is exactly what I intend to do.,” Jackson disclosed. “I love my daughter for who she is without preconditions, and I promise to help nurture her into a becoming a happy, healthy and productive member of society. After all, isn’t that our job as parents?”
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