Covermodel or Scapegoat?

Here‘s a doozy … 

National Geographic magazine put a transgender person on its cover for the first time and the special issue is making waves, as you’d expect in today’s environment. Titled “Gender Revolution,” the January issue examines the shifting landscape.

The topic is (sadly) controversial in and of itself, but the photo has drawn out naysayers in big numbers: it’s a pic of 9-year-old Avery Jackson, who was born male but identifies as female.

Now we have a perfect storm of all the controversial elements:  the topic of transitioning, a trans CHILD of all things, gracing the cover of a credible, world-renowned publication. Nat Geo says they put a trans child on the cover because they hope the gender stories…

“will spark thoughtful conversations about how far we have come on this topic-and how far we have left to go.”

The naysayers are having a field day, as you might imagine. It’s enough to make their poor, close-minded heads explode.

BUT!  Duh-duh-dunnnn…

One response in particular caught my attention. This guy, Walt, who transitioned from male to female for 8 years, and then transitioned back.

Walt calls Avery “a cross-dressing boy.” He says that cross dressing a young boy is a form of emotional and pyschological abuse that should be stopped, not celebrated. And he says that putting Avery on the cover will…

“encourage a child to question his or her gender and sex and act out accordingly.”

I’m at a loss. Yes, the cover may encourage a child to question his or her gender – but I gotta believe only if they were already questioning it. It’s difficult for me to think that someone would look at a magazine cover and suddenly be interested in transitioning to the opposite sex if they weren’t already inclined to do so. I don’t look at GQ and think, “Geez, now I wanna be a man!”

Ludicrous, in my mind. Mr. Walt Heyer, I’m truly, honestly, sorry you were confused in your childhood. I’m equally sorry you felt that you made a mistake by transitioning, and I’m glad you transitioned back to what felt right to you. I hope it made you happy and feel at home in your body.


Please, remember…

Life requires a lot of introspection to figure out who we are … and who we are changes as we age. I’m not the same person I was at 15, 25 or 35. I personally never had occasion to question my gender. I’m not saying that Mr. Heyer didn’t have reason to. I’m just saying it’s a shame that someone who, at one point, understood the need to physically transition can’t afford others the same opportunity without calling it “abuse.” I’m stumped at his reaction and really, just kinda left mystified by it.

Whaddya think?

1.  Is Avery a brave, young girl acting on her instinct who should be applauded for breaking down barriers?

2.  Is she being duped or misled into transitioning?

3.  Is transgenderism — as Walt Heyer puts it —  “B.S.?”

We gotta talk about this. Wherever you fall on the yay/nay spectrum, this is real. This is life. And THAT is why Nat Geo put a trans child on the cover.

Time to get those thoughtful conversations going… please start one here by commenting on this post.

8 thoughts on “Covermodel or Scapegoat?

  1. I think the National Geographic’s coverage of the issue of transgenderism was very far-ranging and inclusive of the variety of ways we perceive gender, our own and others. It was especially bold of the editors to address how children in many societies feel about gender. As for Walt, I’m with you. I’m sorry he felt as though he was duped. I wonder who put those ideas in him if he didn’t really know himself. But we are in deep error if we judge all others by the experience we ourselves have had. One size does not fit all. And that is the crux of the transgenderism debate. Personally, I feel this is a planetary pushback against the rigidity of gender roles in most societies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We agree yet again, Jerry. I thought the issue was well-done. Bold, informative, and diverse.

      I’m sure there are others who have transitioned and perhaps regretted it, but Walt is the first one I’ve encountered and it took me aback. Not only his own personal experience, but that he could foist that on someone else.

      I think our planet has a long way to go when it comes to gender roles but at least we’re taking (baby) steps in the right direction 🙂


  2. Your post is SPOT ON and as always very worth reading. People are soo afraid of who they themselves are these days that it is literally impossible for them to be compassionate.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You use words like controversy instead of debate. You don’t seek out researched statistics on the affect, whether positive or negative transgenderism has on adults and children.

    I’m not the same either as I was at15, 25 or thirty five. Neither you nor I can expect a four or five year old to know what they want or who they are yet. It must be traumatic. What steps do parents take to make sure they are doing the right thing? I ask you and them, Lynn, what’s the hurry?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for weighing in, Mary, and for your thoughtful comments. I *love* that you were able to question respectfully and will do my best to respond in kind!

      You’re right – I did not include researched statistics in this article (which I often do in my blogs) because I was more focused on the idea instead of the research in this case.

      I think the very best thing a parent can do is allow their child to be happy – and do what they can to accommodate that. If that means a child plays dress up, I don’t see the harm in that. Young girls like to dress like princesses, and we don’t ding them for it. We shouldn’t ding boys for it either. It’s not rushing anything in my mind, it’s allowing them to express themselves.

      If accommodating a child to make them happy means the child wants to use a different name or pronouns, it’s not a permanent change. I applaud a parent that teaches their child to express their individuality in all its gloriousness, and accepts them for it.

      There’s no hurry, other than a child who is unable to fully express what they feel inside will likely deal with feelings of repression for the rest of their life. The sooner they’re made to feel loved and safe to be who they feel they are, the better…even if that changes when they’re 15 or 25 or 35.

      I hope this response answers your queries and I’m happy to continue the discussion! Only by discussing important topics like this can we better understand each other.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s