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This 9-Year-Old Girl Is the First Trans Person on the Cover of ‘National Geographic’

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History has just been made. For the first time ever, National Geographic will feature a transgender person on its cover–and in this case, it’s a 9-year-old named Avery Jackson. Avery is from Kansas City, and will appear on the subscriber cover of the magazine’s January 2017 issue. How awesome is that?

In the photo’s caption, which was shot by photographer Robin Hammond,  Avery says, “The best thing about being a girl is, now I don’t have to pretend to be a boy.” While this cover is a big deal (and would be for anyone), Avery is used to the spotlight, as she has been sharing her story on her YouTube channel. She and her mother, Debi Jackson were also featured in the New York Times profile series “Transgender Today” last year. In one of her videos, Avery explained what her situation has been like:

“When I was born, doctors said I was a boy, but I knew in my heart I was a girl. Even though I was a girl, I was afraid to tell my mom and dad, because I thought they would not love me anymore or throw me out or stop giving me any food or anything.”

Her journey has been suported by her parents, which has definitely made the process easier for Avery. Her mother, Debi Jackson, gave a widely publicized speech on her affirmation of her daughter’s gender identity, while Avery’s father Tom Jackson wrote an essay for the New York Times; he wrote: “I love my daughter for who she is without preconditions.”

Then, this past Wednesday, Debi tweeted a photo of her daughter’s cover, stating:

“I’m shaking so much I can barely type. Thank you for featuring Avery! #transisbeautiful.”

National Geographic’s issue will accompany its documentary Gender Revolution, which is hosted by Katie Couric and will air Febuary 6. Don’t forget to check out Avery’s video below:


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