Transgender Girl on the Cover of National Geographic Sparks Controversy

Scott Slayton | Contributor | Monday, December 19, 2016

Transgender Girl on the Cover of National Geographic Sparks Controversy

National Geographic recently unveiled the cover of the January 2017 issue, which will feature nine-year-old Avery Jackson on the cover. The issue focuses on the “Gender Revolution” and Avery graces the cover because she is a transgender girl. The cover includes a quote from Avery: “The best thing about being a girl is, now I don’t have to pretend to be a boy.”

Editor in Chief Susan Goldberg explains that our culture’s understanding of gender is “shifting rapidly and radically. That’s why we’re exploring the subject this month, looking at it through the lens of science, social systems, and civilizations throughout history.” 

As part of the issue, National Geographic photographed and interviewed eighty nine-year-olds in eight different countries. They asked them about their perceptions on gender and how their gender has influenced their lives.

One of the children they photographed was Avery. A Kansas City resident, she has lived as a transgender girl since the age of five. The editors believed her “strong and proud” portrait summed up the ongoing gender revolution.

Goldberg summarized the reaction National Geographic received so far, saying, “Since we shared photos of the cover of our special issue on gender on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, tens of thousands of people have weighed in with opinions, from expressions of pride and gratitude to utter fury. More than a few have vowed to cancel their subscriptions.”

One of those opinions was that of Dr. Michael Brown, a Christian radio host who wrote in a column for that encouraging a young child to change genders is a form of child abuse.

“Is National Geographic now complicit in this “child abuse” by making a confused young child an international celebrity?

That is between National Geographic and God,” concludes Brown, “although the magazine’s readers will come to their own conclusions. I can only rue their celebration of the “gender revolution” and pray for God’s best for Avery.”


Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

Publication date: December 19, 2016