Meet Avery Jackson. She’s a bold, inspiring, and spunky 9-year-old transgender girl from Kansas City Missouri, who recently gave the world a whole lot to talk about after making history on the cover of National Geographic’s January Issue. The seemingly controversial cover has been met with many opinions: from outrage and fury to gratitude and pride. Regardless of the extreme reactions, Avery has remained strong with a bright smile on her face.
Upon release of the issue, critics took quickly to social media to express their feelings regarding National Geographics choice of cover. One person tweeted, “National Geographic is trying to brainwash young people into thinking this kind of degeneracy is normal” while another tweeted, “What an amazing day”. In her cover photo quote Avery gushes, “The best thing about being a girl is, now I don’t have to pretend to be a boy”.
An aspect of Avery’s story which faced the most criticism was the age at which she transitioned into a female. While Avery’s biological sex is male, she has spent the last four years of her life living confidently as a girl. In 2012 Patrick kelly, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, told the Washington post that “In children, gender solidifies at about 3 to 6” .
Kelly has also stated that the support of a transitioning child’s parents is crucial to their development. Luckily for Avery, her mother, Debi Jackson, has been her number one supporter on this journey. Regarding Avery’s transition, Debi has said, “People look at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart. My daughter is a girl in her heart. She knows it, God knows it, and that’s good enough for me“.
While Avery’s story is not a new one, it’s representative of a bigger picture which is the whole population of transgender individuals all over the world. Much credit is owed to National Geographic for their decision to publish such an honest and candid story regardless of opposing opinions. As a cover girl, Avery now has the ammunition to power forward on her mission of making the world a more accepting, loving and open place, for the entire transgender community.