Debi Jackson, whose decision to put her 9-year-old transgender daughter on the cover of National Geographic created a swirl of controversy, says the family is now receiving threats and harassment.
Jackson’s daughter, Avery, was born as a male, and began her transition to female at the age of four. Her picture on the front of the magazine created a raging debate, with different people offering different reasons for liking or disliking it.
Jackson says her family has been attacked on Internet communities since the publication came out. She specifically referred to one thread that she says “likes to target the trans community—a lot of them try to target people and harass them so much so that they’ll commit suicide.” Having dug through the thread, it is clear that the group does doxx its targets, with Jackson’s personal information being shared, including their address and phone number. “They found information (about our family) and put it out there.” Jackson said. “People later commented, ‘Yeah, she’s definitely one who needs to be cyberbullied until she commits suicide.’”
While that’s a blatant example of harassment, most of the Internet is instead simply calling Jackson a bad mother. They note that Avery started her transition at a very young age, and many argue that a four-year-old is too young to make those decisions themselves. The claim is that the mother is using her child for fame and attention, and harming her kid along the way.
Jackson has used her platform as the “Trans girl mom” (even using the Twitter handle @transgirl_mom) to boost her own reputation, including landing Jackson some lucrative speaking gigs. Jackson has argued that transgender suicide rates skyrocketed after Donald Trump’s election. But Nick Adams, director of the GLAAD Transgender Media Program, said that there is no evidence to substantiate those claims, and that “it’s important that mainstream media outlets and people on social media do not spread incomplete or inaccurate information about suicides, as it can lead others to attempt self harm.”