National Geographic cover featuring 9-year-old transgender girl Avery Jackson sitting on the arm of a chair.
Avery Jackson (Photo:

In a historic move, National Geographic is starting off the New Year by putting a 9-year-old transgender girl on the cover of their “Gender Revolution” issue.

“The best thing about being a girl is, now I don’t have to pretend to be a boy.”

The cover features Avery Jackson who appears on the subscriber’s version of their January 2017 edition. It will hit newsstands on December 27th. “The best thing about being a girl is, now I don’t have to pretend to be a boy,” Jackson says in a caption accompanying the stunning cover image, which was shot by photographer Robin Hammond.

The issue takes a look at the gender spectrum in cultures all over the world. Containing features such as “Rethinking Gender” and “Dangerous Lives of Girls”, it looks at gender through the “lens of science, social systems, and civilizations throughout history.”

The issue also focuses on transgender kids. ‘Lots of people are talking about Avery Jackson, a 9-year-old girl from Kansas City,” said Editor in Chief Susan Goldberg. ‘The same piece that features Avery showcases young people from the Americas to the Middle East, from Africa to China. These keen and articulate observers bravely reflected our world back at us.” The magazine went to eight different countries to shoot portraits of 80 nine-year-olds who shared their stories about how gender has influenced their lives.

Full cover of national Geographic's "Gender Revolution" issue featuring Avery Jackson (subscriber's issue) and a newstand issue featuring a group of transgender and gender non-conforming people.

News of the pending issue is already stirring controversy. “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,” Goldberg said.

National Geographic will also be airing a two-hour documentary on February 6th titled, “Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric,” which covers “everything you wanted to know about gender but were afraid to ask,” according to Couric. The film will look at gender fluidity and its relationships with genetics, brain chemistry, and modern culture.