The world’s first transgender doll will debut at the New York toy fair on February 18th and 19th. Sixteen-year-old LGBTQ activist Jazz Jennings, the youngest documented transgender person, inspired the doll.
Jennings has offered her approval of the toy based on her likeness. “Ever since I was little, I always loved playing with dolls,” she told The New York Times. “It was a great way to show my parents that I was a girl because I could just express myself as I am. So this really resonates with me, because it was something so pivotal in my own journey.”
Kingston, New York-based Tonner Doll Company made the doll. The company has had a long history of producing toys based on “socially transformational heroes,” which include a plus-size doll as well as ones inspired by famous characters like Wonder Woman, Spider-Man and Harry Potter. According to the company’s chief executive Robert Tonner, the toy will be part of a limited-edition test run in either late spring or early summer at the price of $89.99. A red-carpet-ready doll will sell for over $100.
Tonner revealed to New York Times that he hopes the doll will be picked up by “big-box toy stores” in spite of the high price and potential for pushback from conservative audiences. “I don’t even know if the word ‘transgender’ will be on the package,” he said. “She’s a great kid. She’s a very brave, special person. And that’s what we’re trying to get out there.”
Jennings first rose to prominence in 2007 when Barbara Walters interviewed her for a 20/20 special about her identity and transition at the age of six. She currently stars on the TLC reality show I Am Jazz.