Cover girl

Why ‘National Geographic’ put a trans girl on its cover

There’s a wonderful post over at National Geographic, explaining their groundbreaking new cover. The image is of Avery Jackson, a 9-year-old girl in Kansas City. She’s the first openly trans person to appear on the cover of the magazine, and people are freaking out. (Both good and bad.)

“More than a few have vowed to cancel their subscriptions,” the NG editors write. But they felt that it was important to include her in this issue, which focuses mainly on how gender roles are affecting young people. Inside the magazine, there are portraits of 80 9-year-olds from 8 different countries, and the editors hail Jackson as “strong and proud.”

The issue notes that the very concept of gender is in a state of evolution — far from when Freud declared that gender is destiny. “Many of us learned in high school biology that sex chromosomes determine a baby’s sex, full stop: XX means it’s a girl; XY means it’s a boy. But on occasion, XX and XY don’t tell the whole story,” writes Robin Marantz Henig.

The piece concludes that particularly now, in the digital age, young people face new opportunities (and challenges) brought about by growing flexibility when it comes to self-identifying. On balance, the editors seem confident that that is a good thing: they hope, they write, that the cover can spark conversation about what’s changed and how much more progress remains.

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  • abnerb

    I want to go into women’s bathrooms if there are pretty women in there & if a pretty woman wants to use men’s bathrooms, then that is fine with me. I want a pretty woman to go into men’s bathrooms but I wouldn’t want uglies like Ellen Lee DeGeneres and Rosie T. O’Donnell shitting in any bathroom as they’re ugly so Ellen & Rosie can shit in diapers. Ellen Lee DeGeneres & Rosie T. O’Donnell both probably like to have farting & shitting contests in bathrooms, so Ellen & Rosie both want to do battleshits contest in men’s bathrooms since women’s toilets got dirtied by them.

  • abnerb

    Transexuals are mutilated gays and lesbians. I don’t care what others say but mutilating a man or woman to make them fake members of opposite sex is gay/lesbian. And gay/lesbian groups are apologists for Transexuals which is why the word T is there. They must abolish this surgical mutilation.

    Finally, sex change maimings which is mutilating some1 to make them fake members of opposite sex is comparable to trying to make a man a fake animal because he thinks he is an animal trapped in a human body. Most feminists are not speaking against this. 1 would hope that feminists would oppose the mutilation that happened to Chastity Sun Bono as feminists have spoken against Female Genital Mutilation which happens in some nations. Transexuals are mutilations which no Dr. should take part in, yet most feminists are not condemning this female genital and breast mutilation as what happened to Chastity S. Bono where her healthy breasts were mutilated, dangerous hormone shots and her genitals mutilated.

  • jenbird

    Surely the answer to the question posed by the article title is, to borrow from the Canadian Prime Minister, “because it’s 2016.” As a society we used to welcome sexism, racism, transphobia, homophobia and so forth in public life — but then we grew up.

  • inbama

    Clearly, English isn’t your first language.

  • IDoNotHaveToAgreeWithYou

    Because like the disgusting parents they want to push a mental illness as normal. This is probably a case of a normal child that has been brainwashed in to claiming to be trans given the parents are activists anyway.

  • SteveDenver

    This is an outstanding issue that explores gender norms around the world. There is an interesting section on color coding in which a photographer explores retail items aimed at girls and there is a tidal wave of PINK. Likewise with boy-targeted items, there is a flood of BLUE. Much of this carries into adulthood, with children raised in less affluent households having favorite colors such as GREEN, ORANGE, PURPLE and YELLOW.

  • SteveDenver

    @abnerb: You’re an ass. You just choose not to understand.

    @IDoNotHaveToAgreeWithYou: Silly, you’re thinking of RELIGION, childhood brainwashing, and rampant sexual abuse of minors.

  • He BGB

    I love when internet trolls are all experts on sexuality and gender when the most brilliant minds in the world haven’t figured it out. Can you please use that brilliant mind to cure cancer too, while you’re at it? And then bring peace to the Middle East?

  • Silke

    @abnerb: Maybe you`re lacking of knowledge or just an ignorant asshole…but if you can`t say anything intelligent, it would be appreciated you would at least remain silent.

  • Silke

    @abnerb: And btw..being transsexual has nothing to do with being gay or lesbian. It`s about gender and not about sexual orientation. A transsexual person can be straight and also gay or lesbian or anything else.

  • Bob LaBlah

    I honestly thought nothing else could roll around where I was less onboard with than Caitlin Jenner but this tops that ol’ retch of a human being (Jenner) by leaps and bounds. My lord, a NINE year old? And look at the pose they had this little girl strike for the cover. Dyed hair too? Those of you who support this have some serious issues that need to be dealt with. Nine years old is too young to identify with what is referred to as a life long irreversible decision in my book.

    I do hope National Geographic will put out a statement declaring this little girl is a model and not an actual member of the trans community. That is simple too young and I make no apologies for my etched-in-stone opinion on this one.

  • Bob LaBlah

    @Bob LaBlah: “And look at the pose they had this little girl strike for the cover.”

    It was very hard to determine if I should have said little boy or little girl. For intents and purposes I assume it was suppose to be a little boy being a little girl and not the other confusing way around. But thats just how confused I got. This is what it is, a MESS.

  • Chris

    Let’s re-phrase and ask the question that gay men used to ask: “If [she] could chose not to be other than [transsexual], do you think that [she] wouldn’t chose to do so? Look at the abuse [she] has to tolerate simply to say [she] is transsexual.” Gads, people; try a little tolerance and understanding even if you’re not capable of compassion and acceptance.

    [] is used to replace I with she and to replace gay with transsexual. It is not meant to convey anything else.

  • KaiserVonScheiss

    This is insane. Children should not be transitioning. They are children. Children are confused enough when it comes to gender and sexuality. The fact that this is being so easily accepted and normalised in the name of “tolerance” is disturbing.

    The trans thing is a complicated issue, but doing this to children is wrong. What if they grow up and realise that taking hormones or whatever was a mistake? Hormone therapy has life-altering and permanent consequences.

    Even adults should probably seek counseling before taking life-altering hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery to avoid making a permanent mistake.

    I’ve heard from trans people that many of their trans friends regretted surgery, some even committing suicide. So how is this possibly a good idea to do to children?

  • ErikO

    @IDoNotHaveToAgreeWithYou: True. If someone is an adult and wants to transition that’s fine but kids and teens should not be encouraged or forced to transition by pressure from their nutty parents.

  • Danny279

    Why did National Geographic do it? Bad taste. A more interesting question is why Queerty has refused to print a single word about a horrific murder of 2 African-American lesbian mothers and their son – all shot and stabbed by a white trans activist, Dana Rivers, in Oakland on November 11.

  • Bob LaBlah

    @Danny279: Did Queerty prevent you from posting the link to this story or did you just decided to bitch about it but not post the link yourself?

  • fur_hunter

    @abnerb: ……Well. I can see you are uneducated and ignorant when it comes to the issue of transgender. From your posts, I think you need professional help. Your post just show how ignorant and uneducated you are. I recommend that if you are going to post about a subject, you should be knowledgeable regarding the subject and not just flap you big mouth in the breeze with really stupid information. You are a perfect example of the phrase. ‘When you are dead, you do not know you are dead, but everyone else does. It is the same when you are a stupid moron.’

  • fur_hunter

    @inbama: ……And he has no idea what he is talking about, he is so ignorant of the subject of transgender.

  • fur_hunter

    @SteveDenver: …..Thank you, Steve. Both are total morons when it comes to the subject of Transgender, much less homosexuality.

  • miserylovedme24

    @KaiserVonScheiss: I agree with this completely. I’ll admit, I don’t really ‘get’ the whole transgender issue, but I’m fine with people doing whatever it is they feel they need to do. However, when we’re talking about someone that’s only 9 years old, that just feels far too young to be doing this. It’s one thing for an adult to say that they know who they are and want to make their body match that. But at 9 years old, come on. No kid should be making a decision that big at that age.

  • fur_hunter

    @Silke: …..Thank you, Silke. abnerb is so ignorant, I told him to go get educated on any subject before he opens his ignorant mouth.

  • Chris2016

    How many Gay men and women had some kind of gender identity issue, or simply fantasized about being the opposite sex, as children? How many of those same Gay men and women went on to live in their birth gender and be happy, healthy, and well adjusted adults? By my own experiences, I would guess a fair deal. So the idea of a child ‘transitioning’ is horrifying.

    The national geographic piece really didn’t help it’s cause when they also gave those pretentious ‘genderqueer’ idiots attention, in the same issue.

    “The issue notes that the very concept of gender is in a state of evolution”

    Maybe with Gender Studies professors who preach about gender, but yet know nothing of biology/science. With the rest of us, it’s really not.

  • fur_hunter

    I congratulate National Geographic for their boldness in this issue. Maybe, just maybe, some of those who have believed misinformation on the subject, will read the magazine and get a true and unbiased understanding of transgender, removing their discrimination of transgender people.

  • KaiserVonScheiss


    There is nothing bold about doing this to children.

  • dwes09

    @IDoNotHaveToAgreeWithYou: “Because like the disgusting parents they want to push a mental illness as normal. This is probably a case of a normal child that has been brainwashed in to claiming to be trans given the parents are activists anyway.”

    GO AWAY breeder boy!!! We are so f-ing tired of the stupid, the ,mentally ill, the tiny minded like you coming here to push your superstition based agendas. This is a site for homosexuals and those with open minds. You have nothing of substance to add, nothing intelligent to say. Yes, you don’t have to agree with me, but you might think about how you show yourself as an idiot in the expression of your disagreement.

    You don’t like people who are different? Fine, but your inability to wrap your mmind around something challenging to you does not make it evil or satanic or nasty. Either learn to think and take a lesson or two from your intellectual betters or keep quiet so people don’t laugh at you.

    But assuming for a second you have some sort of intellectual capacity, what exactly supports you notion that transgender children spring from “activist parents”? Is is because Steve Bannon and Tony Perkins think so? Support your position with something other than superstition or imagination.

  • dwes09

    @KaiserVonScheiss: Clearly you prefer to see the suicide, self hatred and maladaptive behavior that comes from forcing conformity on transgender youth. Kind of like heterosexuals like you forcing us gay folks to “act normal”.

    I’m not transgender, nor even gender non-conforming, but here is a clue for the tiny minded like you: Just because something is hard for you to understand or relate to does not mean it is false. Perhaps it is just you lack the intellectual strength to deal with challenges to your little world view.

  • dwes09

    @Chris2016: ” By my own experiences, I would guess a fair deal. So the idea of a child ‘transitioning’ is horrifying.”

    What is horrifying is the idea of a gay man who (like most straight men) cannot conceive of someone whose life experience is different from theirs. Just because you cannot understand how a child might know they are not the gender their body displays does not mean the phenomenon doesn’t exist. Huge numbers of heterosexuals say that because they cannot understand same sex attraction it must be an illness, an addiction or a sin. Perhaps you feel that way as well? Your statement is no different from theirs.

  • kille310

    @dwes09: Not the same thing. 9 year olds being told they are trans, and being encouraged is wrong. No one ever encouraged you to be gay, you found out for yourself, probably during puberty. This kids are being deceived, because they think that being the opposite sex is wearing dresses and preferring pink rather than blue.
    They dont know that their puberty will be delayed, they will have to take medications for life, have multiple surgery’s to appear as the opposite sex. THey will also be infertile and have an increased riks of cancer’s and cardiovascular diseases.
    Tell me, how to you explain all this to a child?? How can you support the sterilization of children??

  • Stilinski26

    His/Her mother is exploiting her child her twitter name is transmom………..

  • Bob LaBlah

    @kille310: You left out the most important part about being a trans person: employment discrimination. One MUST support themselves and here is where reality really hits home. Its not unusual for a fifteen or sixteen year old to still find themselves wanting to be an astronaut one minute and a fireman the next followed by a nurse one hour later. But to encourage doors to start slamming in your face before you reach puberty is criminal on the part of all who encourage such thoughts. I have been out of the closet more years than the majority of you are old and I honestly don’t think I would want my niece or nephew befriending a kid who had these types of issues at that young of an age.

  • KaiserVonScheiss


    Heterosexual? WRONG. Full Fag here. But truth doesn’t seem to matter to you people.

    Children can be easily confused when it comes to sexuality and gender. Giving them hormones is not healthy, physically or psychologically.

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