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9-year-old transgender girl makes history on the cover of National Geographic

2016-12-16
A young American girl has made history by becoming the first transgender person to cover National Geographic magazine. The portrait of 9-year-old Avery Jackson, shot by Robin Hammond is accompanied by a simple, but powerful quote, in which the young activist says: "The best thing about being a girl is, now I don’t have to pretend to be a boy." National Geographic's Gender Revolution issue explores the "cultural, social, biological and personal” ramifications of gender around the world, taking the focus away from a number of high profile trans celebrities and focusing on everyday people. “We wanted to look at how traditional gender roles play out all over the world, but also look into gender as a spectrum,” Editor-in-Chief Susan Goldberg said to NBC Out. “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," she added. Welcoming the historic cover, trans writer and comedian Shon Faye explained how representation of trans youth may have helped her understand her gender identity more clearly as a child. "People often ask me if I always knew I was transgender," Shon told us. "Truthfully, I didn't because I didn't know what "transgender" was growing up in the '90s. "I had to wait until I was 25 and I met other trans people before I could begin answer all the questions I still had from childhood. It would be nice to think other trans children could start this earlier by seeing this cover and work it out earlier, instead of having to undo the damage by living in hiding for another decade when there's no need." She added: "A lot of what stops trans people living authentically earlier is how sensationalised and scary the label is – I hope one day it won't have to be particularly 'revolutionary' to just be trans at all." The Gender Revolution issue of National Geographic goes on sale in shops on December 27. 5852d7ef120000c40beef7dd Words by: Cristian Angeloni More stories: Single & Fabulous? | The single man’s guide to surviving Christmas Interview | Wentworth Miller talks mental health, Hollywood and homophobia