MENTAL HEALTH

National Geographic puts 9-year-old transgender girl on their January cover

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     (Twitter/transgirl_mom)

The January 2017 issue of National Geographic will be a historic one: it is the publication's first issue to feature a transgender person on the cover.

Sitting pretty on the magazine's cover is 9-year-old Avery Jackson, a transgender girl from Kansas City. "Gender Revolution" is displayed in large type across the cover. The magazine told Attn: Avery is the first ever transgender person to be featured on the magazine's front page.

Avery is the perfect choice for this historic milestone. She's representative of the growing visibility of transgender people, and she drives the point home that being transgender isn't a choice, but just something you are. In a quote that accompanies Avery's picture on the cover, Avery says "the best thing about being a girl is, now I don't have to pretend to be a boy."

Avery's mom confirmed the cover on Twitter.

According to Attn:, Avery's family have been outspoken proponents of transgender rights for years. Debi, Avery's mom, features her daughter's story in a YouTube video and in a GLAAD video series. Her dad told the New York Times that raising a transgender child is the same as raising any child. A parent's role does not change, he said.

"The one thing that I impart upon my daughter is very simple: Love yourself and show love to others," Tim Jackson wrote in the Times. "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?"

Since we know acceptance from family and community reduces the risk of depression and attempted suicide in transgender people, this National Geographic cover is huge. The more people see transgender people and realize that they are everywhere, living their lives just like everyone else, the more acceptance will hopefully come. Right now, violence against transgender people is at an all time high in the United States, so this cover couldn't have come at a better time. We desperately need the world to realize that transgender people are people before anything else. Hopefully seeing Avery and the love her family has for her will help that along.