National Geographic is going to be taking an historic step with their first issue of 2017. The magazine will feature 9-year-old transgender girl Avery Jackson, who has been diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria, on their cover next month. The announcement came when her mother Debi proudly sharing the cover on Twitter.
According to Susan Goldberg, editor in chief of National Geographic, they will also be releasing an accompanying documentary dedicated to examining gender around the world.
"National Geographic is almost 103 years old, and we have been covering cultures, societies and social issues for all of those years," Goldberg told NBC. "It struck us, listening to the national conversation, that gender was at the center of so many of these issues in the news."
"We wanted to look at how traditional gender roles play out all over the world, but also look into gender as a spectrum. There's lots of coverage on celebrities, but there wasn't an understanding on real people and the issues we face every day in classrooms or workplaces in regards to gender."
The magazine spoke to more than 100 children and teens around the world for the issue, which will cover a wide range of gender topics.
"Youths are articulate and smart and key observers, and they don't have a social veil. They'll tell you what they think, and that is a true reflection of how societies really are. It's harder to get more candid responses out of adults. We wanted to understand how gender plays out in society, and what are the limits, or lack of limits, they think they have because of their gender."
Goldberg says that one of the most common things they heard when speaking to young girls is that they felt they were not treated equally because they were female.
"It's heartbreaking that, almost in 2017, 9-year-old girls, no matter they live, already see their potentials limited."
In 2015, Avery's dad, Tim Jackson, opened up about how he and his wife overcame initial shock and quickly learned what really matters.
"The one thing that I impart upon my daughter is very simple: Love yourself and show love to others. That is exactly what I intend to do. I love my daughter for who she is without preconditions, and I promise to help nurture her into a becoming a happy, healthy and productive member of society. After all, isn’t that our job as parents?"