Transgender representation is getting a much-needed boost with National Geographic‘s new cover for January 2017. The magazine displays Avery Jackson, a nine-year-old transgender girl, whose debut marks a slowly reached milestone for the magazine. Up until this point, it had not featured any openly transgender people on its cover, let alone individuals as young as Jackson, according to ATTN. The cover centers around the young Jackson, alone and dressed in pink, with some seriously adorable pink hair. Her image is overlaid with her powerful quote, “The best thing about being a girl is, I don’t have to pretend to be a boy.”
Debi Jackson, Avery’s mother, was a proud mom, delightedly sharing the newly revealed cover on Twitter Thursday. She wrote, “I’m shaking so much I can barely type. Thank you for featuring Avery!,” capping her tweet with the hashtag “#transisbeautiful.”
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— Debi Jackson (@the_debijackson) December 14, 2016
The nine-year-old is on the cover to represent National Geographic‘s “Gender Revolution” issue. The publication accompanies a documentary of the same name, which will be hosted by Katie Couric and is set to air on the National Geographic network. In addition to Jackson’s photo, National Geographic is selling an alternate cover with seven teens, each of whom are tagged with one of several labels: “intersex nonbinary,” transgender female,” “bi-gender,” “transgender male,” “androgynous,” and “male.”
Avery’s story first garnered public attention last year when Debi, a Republican Southern Baptist, spoke about her daughter in a series of videos.
As overdue as National Geographic‘s new cover and stride toward transgender representation may be, there’s no doubt that the present moment is in need of as many efforts at trans visibility as possible. The more people see these stories and read these stories, the closer we can get to true inclusivity, as well as safety for all LGBTQ+ people.
Now, watch three people talk about what gender means to them: