National Geographic propelled itself to the forefront to the transgender debate with its January issue. Specifically, the world-renowned publication featured a transgender child on the cover of their home-delivery version, something that caused the internet to go wild. The transgender child in question is 9-year-old Avery Jackson, who began her male-to-female transition when she was just four years old.
In addition to being a transgender child (something that many find controversial), the 9-year-old Kansas City girl is also the first openly transgender person to be featured on a National Geographic cover.
9-year-old trans girl Avery Jackson covers National Geographic's "Gender Revolution" issue | SBS Sexualityhttps://t.co/a2rFtcPHC7— Australian Sex Party (@aussexparty) December 16, 2016
Not surprisingly, the reaction to the transgenderNational Geographic cover has been hotly divided and polarized. As The Kansas City Star reports, the public largely responded to Avery Jackson’s cover in one of two ways. First and foremost, according to the girl’s family, they and their 9-year-old transgender daughter have received an immense outpouring of love and support.
Both for Avery’s bravery and the awareness being raised by National Geographic with the issue.
The second reaction, however, has been far less bright and shiny. That’s because those who don’t love and support Avery’s transgender transition have largely responded to the National Geographic cover with messages of vehement hate. Hate that has taken the form of internet trolling, harassment and even threats against the transgender youth and her family. Hate that has even been picked up by so-called “alt-right” news organizations, such as Alex Jones’ InfoWars.
“It’s a bunch of internet trolls. And what they do for fun is find people to make fun of and start threads. This one particular group likes to target the trans community — a lot of them try to target people and harass them so much so that they’ll commit suicide.”
In Avery’s case, the harassment got so extreme that they family’s personal information was posted online, along with suggestions that Avery be bullied to the point of suicide over the transgender magazine cover (and her sexual identification).
“People later commented, ‘Yeah, she’s definitely one who needs to be cyberbullied until she commits suicide.'”
According to the Jackson family, Avery (who was born male) began to identify as a female at a very young age and began her transition process at the age of four. Debi Jackson claims that her daughter solely made the determination that she was, in fact, a girl, and that she and her husband have done nothing more than support their transgender child’s transition process.
Threats, bullying hit family of KC transgender girl on cover of National Geographic https://t.co/jZiLchXGqX— Antifalala lalalala (@ThatSabineGirl) December 23, 2016
The online community has a much different perspective of the situation, largely spawned by the National Geographic transgender issue and Avery’s story. According to the world of internet trolls, Avery is too young to understand what “transgender” is, and she is being exploited by her attention-starved mother for fame and fortune.
“They’ve started a thread about me, (describing me) as a horrible and abusive parent who is using my child for fame and fortune, and obviously I have a twisted sexual deviancy issues to make my boy act like a girl…”
@CharlesMBlow Wonder who chose the pose, the girl or photog. She looks posed to seem older than she is. If that was her choice tho then ok— Gretchen Atwood (@gretchenatwood) December 19, 2016
@NatGeoMag a transgender 9 year old? Thank God this wasn't around when I was young. I got mistaken— Evelyn Beatrice Hall (@EvelynBeaHall) December 17, 2016
@NatGeo We hear enough SJW-approved virtue signaling from the rest of the media. Please stick to science and geography.— Tom (@RoninVision) December 24, 2016
@ThatSabineGirl This makes me so sad :( Why must this family face so much hate when they are just loving and supporting their daughter?— Cindy Young (@MoM_CinD) December 26, 2016
Since her daughter’s story went public, years before the transgender National Geographic issue (Avery’s story covered years ago in The Kansas City Star), Debi Jackson has made a name for herself as the mom of a transgender child. Reportedly, she uses the Twitter moniker @transgirl_mom, and has even made substantial amounts of money as a guest speaker due to the publicity generated by her transgender daughter.
Following the publication of the National Geographic transgender issue, featuring Avery on the cover, many notable American organizations spoke out on the issue. The American Family Association (a conservative Christian activist group, the same one that brought you the Target bathroom boycott) accused National Geographic of “exploiting a child to further an agenda.”
The organization went on to warn parents and grandparents on their Facebook page that the magazine was defying God himself with the transgender cover.
“BE WARNED PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS!!! National Geographic shakes a fist at God and biblical authority on their radical mission to advocate gender confusion in upcoming issues.”
While her controversial mom complains of internet trolls, bullying and even cyber-threats, Avery, the National Geographic transgender cover girl herself, takes a much more pragmatic view of the situation and her gender identity. According to the 9-year-old, she is helping other people and showing the world that transgender people “do exist.”
“What would I say to people who would say I’m a boy and not a girl? I don’t care. It’s your opinion. I’m actually a girl. That’s helping other people. And it’s showing we exist. Transgender people do exist. And they’re there, and you can’t ignore them, because they’re there. It also shows that I’m proud to be transgender. I don’t care if I’m transgender. I’m just out there, a normal human being changing the world.”
According to National Geographic, there has been a substantial public response to their January cover, titled “Gender Revolution.” The magazine says that “more than a few” subscribers have vowed to end their subscriptions in response to their young transgender cover girl. However, National Geographic standing by its decision to address gender issues at this time when society’s “beliefs about gender are shifting rapidly and radically.”
While the publication is being accused by many of “brainwashing,” “indoctrinating,” or even “shaking their fist at God,” National Geographic claims to be doing nothing more than investigating the social issue of gender identity through science, society, and history.
What do you think about Avery Jackson’s story? Is it appropriate for a transgender child to begin to transition at the age of four? Is it ethical for a parent to make money off of the publicity their child’s transition generates? What about those “internet trolls” publishing the Jackson family’s personal information online and threatening to bully 9-year-old Avery to the point of suicide?
What are your thoughts on the National Geographic transgender issue, and will the magazine’s decision to feature a 9-year-old transgender cover girl impact whether or not you continue to be a reader?
[Featured Image by posztos/Shutterstock]