Positive responses to the National Geographic magazine about gender identity on other web sites:
Brittney McNamara, writing for Teen Vogue, subtitled her article: "This is a proud moment for transgender people everywhere." She wrote:
"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. ..." 1
Ms. McNamara quotes Avery's father, Tim Jackson, who wrote in the New York Times:
"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'?" 1
Ms. McNamara continues:
"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." 1
Kip McClement writing for the LGBT-positive group Glaad said:
"GLAAD had talked to Debi Jackson for the video series, GLAAD: All Access. Interviewed by host Claire Pires while at the Human Rights Campaign "Time to Thrive" conference, Debi talked about how she came to support her daughter and become an ally and advocate. Jackson talked about the changes she saw in her daughter after Avery was allowed to transition, saying: 'she was sunshine and sparkles.'
In her video, Avery talks about the anxiety she experienced before telling her parents that she was a girl. She says, '... I was afraid to tell my mom and dad because I thought they would not love me anymore and they would throw me out and stop giving me any food or anything.' Family rejection is a leading cause of homelessness for LGBT youth, who make up 20-40% of the homeless youth population. Having an accepting and supportive family is essential for the well being of transgender children and adults, lowering the risk for drug use, HIV, depression, and suicide attempts.
Avery is a great example of how much a transgender child can flourish when allowed to transition and when supported by their family." 2
Preview of the National Geographic's documentary program "Gender Revolution: Journey With Katie Couric:"
National Geographic's two hour documentary will be aired on the National Geographic channel, Monday, 2017-FEB-06 at 9 PM ET. This is a preview:
The program's host, Katie Couric, issued a statement, saying:
"It’s hard to avoid hearing about some aspect of gender these days. Every time you check your phone, turn on the TV or scan Twitter, there’s another story that’s challenging our preconceived notions of what gender is, how it’s determined and the impact these new definitions are having on society.
I set out on a journey to try to educate myself about a topic that young people are living with so effortlessly -- and get to know the real people behind the headlines. Because the first step to inclusiveness and tolerance is understanding." 4
Courteney Monroe, CEO of National Geographic Global Networks said:
"It seems that every day, there's a new story and a new vocabulary around gender that's challenging our long-held attitudes and preconceptions about what makes us who we are. 'Gender Revolution" will go beyond the headlines to examine the why, the how and what it all means, with intimate stories of the people who are at the forefront of this new frontier. We'll also explore how it's impacting almost every aspect of our lives, from bathrooms to boardrooms, and from colleges to competitive sports. Think of it this way: this will be everything you wanted to know about gender but were afraid to ask." 5
Susan Goldberg, editor-in-chief of National Geographic magazine said that both the 2017-JAN issue and the 2017-FEB TV documentary are an attempt to tell the stories of transgender people that might not necessarily get widespread coverage otherwise. She said:
"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." 6
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Brittney McNamara, "National Geographic Puts 9-Year-Old Transgender Girl on Their January Cover," Teen Vogue, 2016-DEC-15, at: http://www.teenvogue.com/