Why We Put a Transgender Girl on the Cover of National Geographic

We published an issue focused on gender at a time when beliefs about gender are rapidly shifting.

Lots of people are talking about Avery Jackson, a nine-year-old girl from Kansas City who is the first transgender person to appear on the cover of National Geographic.

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.

These comments are a small part of the profound discussion going on right now about gender. Our January issue focuses mostly on young people and how gender roles play out around the world. For one of our stories, which we also turned into a series of videos, we went to eight countries and shot portraits of 80 nine-year-olds, who talked to us in brave and honest ways about how gender influenced their lives.

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