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National Geographic has featured a transgender girl on its cover for the first time.

For the first time in the magazine’s history, National Geographic has featured a transgender girl on the cover of its January 2017 issue.

Nine-year-old Avery Jackson appears on the cover, which was unveiled to the public via social media on Friday.

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

The issue is dedicated to discussions around gender, something the magazine’s editor-in-chief admits there is a “profound discussion” about.

“Our January issue focuses mostly on young people and how gender roles play out around the world,” Susan Goldberg wrote in a post on the magazine’s website.

“Today, we’re not only talking about gender roles for boys and girls – we’re talking about our evolving understanding of people on the gender spectrum.”

The cover has sparked a heated debate online, with many praising the magazine for the historic move.

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However, some detractors claimed featuring Avery on the cover was an attempt to “brainwash” young people.

Goldberg was ready for the criticism, writing that she hopes the stories about gender in the magazine “spark thoughtful conversations about how far we have come on this topic – and how far we have left to go.”

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